Sunday, July 8, 2012

Olympic Games Prep:Banyana Banyana vs Cameroon Friendly Off Great Britain Friendly On

The international friendly match between Banyana Banyana and Cameroon scheduled to be played in Lille, France on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 has been cancelled. This is due to the Cameroon Football Federation not being granted permission by FIFA as their (Cameroon) application to stage the match was considered late.

The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana will instead play a practice match against local club side Bayer 04 Leverkusen ladies team playing in the Women’s Football Bundesliga (German Women’s Premier League). They finished 5th in the league last season.

The encounter will now take place on Thursday, 12 July at 19h30 in Sportschule, Hennef. The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana will no longer be travelling to France.

The South African Senior Women’s National Team arrived safely at Sportschule (Hennef) in Cologne, Germany on Saturday, 7 July as they conclude final preparations for the Olympic Games set to begin later this month in London.

“There’s not much we can do about the match, we were really looking forward to testing our strength against Cameroon but since it will not happen we will have to continue with our preparations. I believe Bayer 04 Leverkusen will also give us a lot of insight into how European teams play and we will go into that practice match with the same determination as though we were facing Cameroon. We still have Great Britain on our sights which will be another great experience for the girls,” said Banyana Banyana head coach Joseph Mkhonza.

The second match of the tour against Great Britain is still set to go ahead. The friendly clash will take place in Birmingham, England on Sunday, 15 July starting at 15h00 local time (14h00 South African time).

Mkhonza has re-emphasised the importance of using the time they have left before the Olympic kick-off wisely.

“With less than 20 days to the start of the Olympics, we are hoping to use this time wisely in refining our skills ahead of the Olympics. We must remember that we began preparing for this tournament during the Olympic qualifiers last year, we need to carry forward what we have learnt as we prepare to take on the world’s top athletes.” said Mkhonza.

“We have the support of millions of South Africans and we should do well by finishing what we started in style, we are the pride of the nation.”

Banyana Banyana technical director, Shakes Mashaba says that the South African Senior Women’s National Team has the potential to surprise the world and play magnificent football at the Olympics.

“We need to remain united, we have the potential to do above our expectations, and it’s all in the mind. We are amongst the number one teams in Africa, with the inclusion of Cameroon who qualified for the Olympics, we have what it takes to surprise the world and show them South African football at its best,” said Mashaba who addressed the players upon arrival in Germany.

“This tour will assist the entire team a great deal as we will be acclimatising ourselves to the European weather conditions and fine tune all we have learnt over the last year. We have to prepare ourselves mentally as we near the Olympic Games and we need to remain united as a team to achieve one common goal to perform at our peak,” said Banyana Banyana captain Amanda Dlamini.

Banyana Banyana, who now form part of Team SA, will begin their Group F Olympic campaign against Sweden on Wednesday, 25 July 2012 in Coventry. This will be followed by a clash against Canada on Saturday, 28 July and they will round off their group stage matches with a fixture against Japan on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 in Cardiff.

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