South African national women team, Banyana Banyana said they will take their international friendly match against Zimbabwe’s Mighty Warriors seriously as they step up their preparations for the 2011 London Olympic qualifying campaign.
The match, scheduled for Rufaro tomorrow afternoon will be held in celebration of the national Unity Day.
Speaking at a press conference at a local hotel yesterday, stopgap coach Joseph Mkhonza, who took over from Augustine Makalakalane said he will be looking to finish off the Mighty Warriors.
“This is a different game altogether but we are going to start from where we left off,” said Mkhonza.
Banyana walloped the Mighty Warriors 4 – 0 in the reverse fixture.
“Zimbabwe has always given us good preparations, they are a good side and that’s why we took the pleasure in taking their invitation for this friendly match.
“For us it’s a continuation of what happened last month when we played Zimbabwe, but we will at the same time try to correct the things we did wrong,” added Mkhonza.
Nomsa Mahlangu, the South African Women Football chairperson could not give satisfactory answers why Makalakalane was not part of the team saying it was not her prerogative to discuss the coaching issue.
Indications, however, are that the coach has been given the boot by SAFA.
The South African women team, who last month came third in the Caf Women championship, brought a stronger side which included Russia based Nompumelelo Nyandeni.
However, the Banyana trump card should be the reigning Caf African Women’s Player of the Year Noko Matlou, who is expected to terrorise the Mighty Warriors’ backline.
Deputy Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Lazarus Dokora, who was the guest of honour thanked the South African team for coming into the country to celebrate the Unity day and said it shows the unity and cordial relations that exists between the two neighbouring countries.
“This visit by the South Africans is very symbolic in that it promotes unity, peace and good international relations through sport,” said Dokora.
“More importantly, the visit by the South African team signifies the cordial relationship that exists between our two countries. During the apartheid era, Zimbabwe provided refuge to quite a number of South Africans and now our neighbour is home to thousands of Zimbabweans.
“These developments are made possible if we are united, live in peace, and have a better understanding of each other.”
He added: “Sport helps build bridges and promotes peace. A peaceful environment is conducive for the economic, social and political development of any country in the world. Let us use every opportunity presented by sport and all our other resources for the betterment of our country, moreso, in the Southern African region.”