Coach Vera Pauw expressed her excitement for Banyana Banyana’s Rio Olympics campaign.
“I am excited for the players, the technical team, the support staff and everyone who played a role to ensure that we get it right and qualify for Women’s AFCON in Cameroon. Botswana gave us a scare in the first match and that gave us a wake-up call. We were then able to rectify our mistakes and they stood no chance in our backyard. This match came in the middle of preparations for the Olympics and we had to fit it in, now we can fully focus on our preparations for the Olympic Games,” said Pauw.
“As I have been saying they will now take a slightly different training routine because you don’t want the team to peak at the wrong time, so we gradually have to work our way up. And after the draw we will be able to confirm some practice matches as those will be equally important for our preparations.”
Banyana Banyana defeated Botswana 3-0 on Tuesday night (12 April) with goals from Sanah Mollo, Mamello Makhabane and Nompulelelo Nyandeni for a 5-0 aggregate score following the 2-0 victory in the first leg.
This is the 10th time in a row that South Africa is represented at the continental championship, and the second time in a row that the ladies qualify for the Olympic Games.
SAFA President, Dr Danny Jordaan said the critical thing now was for the team to compete with the best in the forthcoming tournaments.
“You have proven tonight that you can play the best football on your day. You have always given your best and you also showed that if you believe in your abilities you can make it. The fact that you have qualified for two major tournaments in one year makes it all sweeter. It is also an incredible feat that you have never missed out on the women’s AFCON since you first played in 1995. That is a wonderful record,” said SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan who was at Makhulong Stadium.
“You have made us all proud, you have put a smile on all our faces and for that we are extremely proud of you.”
The South African Senior Women’s National Team will be the first in action at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August.
Banyana Banyana will take the field a day earlier than the South African u23 Men’s National Team.
The South Africans are in Group E alongside Brazil, Sweden and China while the men’s team is in Group A with the hosts, Iraq and Denmark.
The tournament starts from 3 – 20 August.
Vera Pauw’s charges start their 2016 Olympic campaign with a clash against Sweden at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, 3 August.
With Brazil five hours behind South Africa, the 13h00 local time kickoff in Rio will mean 18h00 in South Africa.
The following day Owen da Gama’s side will open the men’s tournament with a much-anticipated clash against the hosts.
This will take place on Thursday, 4 August at the Mane Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia with 16h00 local time kickoff (21h00 South African time).
Next up for the Sasol-sponsored women’s team will China at the same venue on Saturday, 6 August at the Amazoni Arena in Manaus.
Kickoff is at 19h00 (midnight in South Africa).
On Sunday, 7 August the men’s team return to action – this time against Denmark at the Mane Garrincha Stadium.
Kickoff is also at midnight South African time (21h00 in Brazil).
The third and last group stages match for Banyana Banyana will be against the hosts on Tuesday 9 August at the Amazon Arena in Manaus.
South Africans will have to stay up to the wee hours of Wednesday morning, as the match will be at 02h00 (21h00 in Brazil).
In the last group stages match for the men’s team, South Africa travel to Sao Paolo to face Iraq on Wednesday, 10 August.
The clash starts at 22h00 in Brazil (03h00 on Thursday, 11 August in South Africa)
Banyana Banyana Fixtures:
Wednesday 03 August
Sweden vs South Africa
13h00 (18h00 SA Time)
Saturday 06 August
South Africa vs China
19h00 (12h00 midnight SA Time)
Tuesday 09 August
South Africa vs Brazil
Amazonia Arena (Manaus)
21h00 (02h00 Wednesday, 10 Aug SA Time)
History of SA’s participation in the Women Africa Cup of Nations
1995 – 2nd place
1998 – group stages
2000 – 2nd place
2004 – group stages
2006 – 3rd place
2008 – 2nd place
2010 – 3rd place
2012 – 2nd place
2014 – 4th place