Olympics 2012

Banyana upbeat for Games

2012-07-16 16:45
Banyana Banyana coach Joseph Mkhonza (File)

Johannesburg - The SA national women's soccer team remains in high spirits following the two matches played on their tour of Germany and England ahead of the London Olympic Games later this month.

The South Africans, ranked 61st in the world, went down 3-1 against Olympic hosts Great Britain in Birmingham on Sunday.

Russia-based midfielder Nompumelelo Nyandeni's international experience came in handy as she scored South Africa's only goal.

With the few remaining days before their departure for London, Banyana Banyana coach Joseph Mkhonza said the side would brush up on the lessons learnt on tour.

"It's unfortunate that we went down to Great Britain before the start of a major tournament but we remain optimistic that we will play our hearts out when the games begin next week," Mkhonza said.

"But it was a good exercise in that it has given us an indication of what to expect in London and we are under no illusions that we will have to fight hard.

"We should now use the time we have to prepare ourselves mentally, as we now know what lies ahead."

Mkhonza said while they were disappointed with their performance against the Britons, they would be ready for their Olympic opener against Sweden on July 25.

"The defeat hasn't damped our spirits and we still believe we will be highly competitive against the top women's football nations, and make our country proud," he said.

"The players should now be able to build from their last encounter and focus on doing well in the upcoming tournament."

In their first match on tour, Banyana defeated German Women's League side Bayer 04 Leverkusen 3-1 in a practice match in Germany on last Thursday.

South Africa will compete in Group F with Sweden, Canada, and Japan.

The other African representative at the Olympics, Cameroon, is in Group E alongside hosts Great Britain, New Zealand, and Brazil.

Banyana Banyana are expected back in the country on Tuesday to round up preparations before departing for the Olympics as part of Team SA.

Read more on:    olympics 2012  |  joseph mkhonza  |  soccer
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