South Africa’s women national soccer team, Banyana Banyana, jetted into the country Sunday afternoon for Wednesday’s international friendly match against the Mighty Warriors of Zimbabwe at Rufaro.
Acting Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze confirmed the arrival on Sunday.
“They arrived at 4pm with a strong squad of 18 players and are ready for the big match on Wednesday. Their head of delegation is Nomsa Mahlangu, the chairperson of the women football league in South Africa.”
Banyana will use the outing as part of their preparations for a 2011 campaign that includes key London 2012 Olympic qualifying fixtures, while the Mighty Warriors, led by veteran Nomsa “Boyz” Moyo, are eyeing a spot in the Maputo All Africa Games.
Banyana coach Augustine Makalakalane assured that the term “international friendly” exists on paper only.
“Players take to the field to try and win every game, and while we will learn many lessons which will stand us in good stead ahead of next year’s Olympic qualifying campaign, a win in our final match of 2010 will be the perfect way to finish off what has been a hectic 2010 year of women’s football.”
After the trip to Zimbabwe, Banyana will travel to play Zambia in the away leg of the Olympic qualifiers in mid-January before hosting the Zambians in Durban in the return match on January 29.
Russia-based attacking midfielder/striker Nompumelelo Nyandeni has been included in the national squad after a superb season for her club Rossiyank.
Her club’s commitments in Champions League action prevented her from representing Banyana Banyana at the 2010 Caf African Women Championship in South Africa.
Amanda Dlamini, who plays for the University of Johannesburg club in the Sasol League (Gauteng), will be hoping to continue finding the back of the opposition’s goal net, following on from the four goals scored during Banyana’s bronze medal performance at the Caf African Women Championship held in Ekurhuleni near Johannesburg last month.
Likewise, Caf African Women’s Player of the Year Noko Matlou will be looking to return to goal-scoring form, while defender Janine van Wyk, who was named as the Banyana Player of the Year at the Safa Awards held last week – will be out to show the same sort of confidence and skill that made her a crowd favourite during the African showpiece event.