Banyana Banyana face their toughest assignment yet in international football when they face Olympic and World Champions USA who are also ranked number one in the world. But South Africa’s head coach Vera Pauw says she would now have it any other way – it’s the best preparation ever.
“We are very excited that we will be playing them and the nerves are kicking in a little bit, but we will just have to fight through the game and take everything we can, see where we end. I don’t think my team will collapse at any point, I think when things are not going our way we can still pick ourselves up and go with the team plan and plan again,” said Pauw.
“But we will see tomorrow how strong we are and how strong they are because everyone knows it is the first time we play the Olympic and World Champions, they are completely ruling in the world – but it’s the best preparation for the Olympics. Hopefully after this game then we know exactly what we can or cannot do, and then set our game plan for the Olympics.”
The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana and the USA meet on Saturday, 9 July 2016 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois in the USA.
Kickoff is 19h00 South African time.
Pauw believes a lot is riding on this game and it is important that they go through this experience for the development of their game.
“We have seen all their games up to so far, we know what to expect but we haven’t felt it yet because you need to experience it on the field, and that pressure from the USA will be something of a shock but then it’s the only way to get used to it and to fight it through, to toughen up. It will be more or less a war on the pitch. Their style is of going all our and fight for a win because they are also preparing for the Olympics and they are also fighting for places in the final squad, so whoever is plays will be tough,” added Pauw.
USA-based Banyana Banyana forward Jermaine Seoposenwe concurs with her coach about the nerves but says as players they are focused.
This will be the first time the two nations cross swords on the field of play.
“It’s exciting to play the world champions, and as it is the first time we face them, there are a couple of nerves here and there but we are staying focused what we have to do to get a good result. They are are a big team, and we understand that and we also respect them for that but that is not going to determine what we want to do – so if we take away all of the prestige and accomplishments it is just another 11 vs 11. We have stick together as a team, remain focused on the job at hand and it is possible to get a positive result,” said Seoposenwe.
The Samford University player says they know it will be a tough match but they will have put in all the effort to triumph.
“We all know how good they are and they have achieved so much. They are going to come out and want to run all over us but we are as talented and as well organised as they are as long as we stick to what we know, and focus on how best we can contribute to the team. We must not be nervous and be star struck because one can easily fall into that trap as these are players we have looked up to. They are trailblazers in women’s football and you have to respect that, but we just need to give a 100 percent, and as I always say – effort over talent always works,” added Seoposenwe.