Banyana needs tough friendlies ahead of Olympics

2016-05-18 06:00

FORMER Banyana Banyana head coach and ex-Safa interim technical director Fran Hilton-Smith says the SA women’s senior team need to play tough friendlies in order to make them strong.

Hilton-Smith this week told Echo this after Safa confirmed they are to have an international friendly against Zimbabwe.

According to Safa, Africa’s two
female representatives at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the SA senior women’s team, Banyana Banyana and Zimbabwe, will lock horns on Sunday at Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa at 3pm.

“I am impressed with the preparations and quality of friendlies arranged so far. Our neighbours, Zimbabwe, are one of Africa’s representatives in this year’s Olympics and are a quality side. It’s going to be a tough one, but we are both going to learn a lot from each other,” said Hilton-Smith.

Banyana’s head coach Vera Pauw was excited about the chance of playing against SA’s neighbours.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for us and Zimbabwe, Africa’s representatives in the women’s tournament at the Olympics, to showcase what we can potentially unleash at the
Olympics.

“The two teams will use the occasion to launch final preparations towards Rio. We are grateful to them [Zimbabwe] agreeing to come here at such a short notice. I hope fans will come in numbers to watch this encounter as this is something that might not happen often,” said Pauw.

“The last time we played against Zimbabwe, it ended in a goalless draw so this will be good for our preparations. After a few weeks of not being in camp, we are happy that we can resume with our training camps. The team must be together and train together, so this match comes at a very important time, which is why we are happy. We will be able to get back into the full swing of things for the last push towards Rio.”

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games run from 3 to 20 August.

The South Africans are in Group E alongside Brazil, Sweden and China, while Zimbabwe is in Group F against Canada, Australia and Germany.

Banyana Banyana open their account with a clash against Sweden at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, 3 August.

Next on the cards for the Sasol-sponsored women’s national team will be China at the same venue on Saturday, 6 August.

The third and last group stages match for Banyana Banyana with the hosts on Tuesday, 9 August at the Amazon Arena in Manaus.

- additional information, Safa.

Banyana Olympic Games
fixtures:

Wednesday 3 August

Sweden vs South Africa

Olympic Stadium

13h00 (18h00 SA time)

Saturday, 6 August

South Africa vs China

Olympic Stadium

19h00 (12h00 midnight SA time)

Tuesday, 9 August

South Africa vs Brazil

Amazonia Arena (Manaus)

21h00 (02h00 Wednesday, 10 August SA Time).

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