Banyana Banyana midfielder Nompumelelo Nyandeni believes playing the USA will be a great experience for the South African Senior Women’s National Team.
The two nations face off on Saturday, 9 July at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Kickoff is at 12h00 local time (19h00 SA Time – USA is seven hours behind South Africa).
The USA is number one on the Women’s World Ranking, and also the current world champions – for that reason Nyandeni says it’s important to play them as part of preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, which take place in August.
“I think it’s going to be a very difficult match because firstly there are no easy teams in international competition, secondly they are the world champions. They have a lot of experience and it is important for us to go there and learn as much as possible before the Olympics. We are the underdogs and the USA has been at the top for a long time, so this is a very appropriate game to gauge ourselves. After this match, when we get to Rio we should already know what to expect,” said Nyandeni.
The clash against the USA comes at the back of two losses against The Netherlands – matches the South Africans were using as part of preparations. The midfielder believes they have learnt a lot from that outing.
“I learnt that in international football you need to release the ball early, always strive to play forward in search of goals, and most importantly to play as a team. There has been a lot of improvement since the Holland game – and we saw at our first training session after our return that we are doing things differently, in a positive way. I think as a team we have moved another step forward,” added Nyandeni.
The midfielder is set to become the second highest capped player in Banyana Banyana history should she play against the USA.
With the second match against The Netherlands, Nyandeni reached 124 caps – the number of appearances made by retired Portia Modise.
Captain Janine van Wyk is the most capped with 130 games.