Final Olympic preparations for Banyana
6 July 2012
South Africa's women's football team, Banyana Banyana, depart South Africa on Friday, headed for the Sportschule in Hennef, Germany, as the team undergoes its final preparations for the London Olympic Games, which kick off on 27 July.
Emphasising the importance of the tour, coach Joseph Mkhonza said in a statement: "This is the last chance to work on any of our shortcomings. We have to finalise our strategy for the Olympics and build on what we've been working on since our qualification."
A squad of 21 players will be joined by Russia-based Nompumelelo Nyandeni on Saturday in Germany.
Two international friendlies
During their time abroad, the Sasol-sponsored squad will play two international friendly matches against Cameroon and Olympic hosts Great Britain.
In their first match, South Africa faces Cameroon, the only other African country to qualify for the Olympics, in Lille, France on Wednesday 11 July.
On Sunday 15 July, Banyana take on Great Britain in Birmingham to conclude their overseas training camp.
Coach Mkhonza wants to put the finishing touches on his team's preparations before they take on a huge challenge in the Olympic Games, with their group opposition made up of World Cup holders and world number three Japan, world number four Sweden, and world number seven Canada.
Sasol League Championships
Several players were in action in the the Sasol League Championships, which bring together the champion teams from each province, in Durban this past week and Mkhonza is hoping they will carry the same energy and momentum to Europe.
Six Banyana Banyana players played in the championships – Zamandosi Cele (Durban Ladies), Leandra Smeda and Nocawe Skiti (Cape Town Ladies), Nothando Vilakazi and Portia Modise (Palace Super Falcons), and Sanah Mollo (Bloemfontein Celtic).
"The players that took part in the championship will be given time off to recover to avoid overworking them as we approach this very important phase of preparations. Most of the girls that went there took part, and I was very happy with their enthusiasm at the tournament," Mkhonza said.
"Defender Janine van Wyk's rehabilitation is nearing conclusion and we hope she will be ready for our matches in Europe."
He concluded: "The matches will help us gauge how far we have come and give us a state of our readiness. This is also the opportunity to make sure the players understand the importance of competing on the Olympic stage."
BANYANA BANYANA SQUAD
Thokozile Mndaweni (University of Johannesburg), Roxanne Barker (Pepperdine University, USA), Andile Dlamini (Sundowns Ladies FC), Refiloe Jane (Sundowns Ladies FC), Lebogang Mabatle (Hallelujah Zebra Force), Nothando Vilakazi ( Palace Super Falcons), Amanda Sister ( Liverpool Ladies), Janine van Wyk (Palace Super Falcons), Zamandosi Cele (Durban Ladies), Leandra Smeda (Cape Town Roses), Nocawe Skiti (Cape Town Roses), Kylie-Ann Louw ( Stephen F Austin University, USA), Amanda Dlamini (University of Johannesburg), Mary Ntsweng (TUT Ladies FC), Noko Matlou (University of Johannesburg), Portia Modise (Palace Super Falcons), Gabisile Hlumbane (Kovsies Ladies FC), Sanah Mollo (Bloemfontien Celtic), Robyn Moodaly (High Performance Centre), Nompumelelo Nyandeni (FC Rossiyanka, Russia), Andisiwe Mgcoyi (Sundowns Ladies FC), Jermaine Seoposenwe (Santos)
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