Banyana waste no time preparing for next year’s London Olympics

2011-09-17 15:22

It’s been a week since Banyana Banyana qualified for next year’s London Olympics, but the technical team is already hard at work preparing for the quadrennial showpiece. The Olympics kick off on July 27.

Nomsa Mahlangu, chairperson of SA Football Association (Safa) women’s football, said there was no time for the national team to relax, adding that hard work must begin immediately if they were to put up a challenge.

“It will take a lot of hard work, but we have enough talent in the team to do it.”

Mahlangu added that the issue of bonuses would also be discussed.

She also said that they were looking at hosting an eight-nations tournament as part of their preparations. The team will partake in the Cyprus Cup in November, she confirmed.

The national team sponsor, Sasol, has pledged to pump more funds into the team’s preparations.

» Meanwhile, Safa’s technical director, Serame Letsoaka, said South Africa did not produce enough qualified female coaches, hence women soccer teams were forced to employ male coaches.

The two Banyana teams that took part in the Olympics qualifier and this year’s All Africa Games were coached by Joseph Mkhonza and Bongani Yengwa, respectively. Mkhonza was assisted by Jerry Laka.

Considering the slow pace in development of women’s football, Letsoaka said there was nothing wrong with men coaching female teams. “We can’t please people at the expense of (national) teams.

“For one to get a coaching post at national level, you have to at least have a Level 2 qualification. Solly (Luvhengo) is only assisting in the selection process of the Under-20 (girls) team.”

He pointed out former Banyana striker Anna Monate, who is the Under-17 assistant coach, and Sheryl Botes, a qualified coach with a Level 3 licence and in charge of the Under-20s, as good examples for women wishing to take up a career in coaching.

But former Banyana captain Portia Modise was quick to argue that there should be more opportunities for women in coaching. “Why not balance the teams and give women a chance? Safa promised to empower women. We were promised a female coach in one of the meetings, but now it looks like things will not change any time soon.”

Former Banyana players Delisiwe Mbatha, Desiree Ellis and Khabo Zitha are among the country’s promising coaches.

Mandy de Araujo, a former Banyana player, works with the Safa Under-19 development team.

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