Banyana gearing up for AWC

2014-09-09 20:36
Banyana Banyana (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - The South African women's national team, Banyana Banyana, are in their final stages of preparations for the continent's biggest women's football tournament, the African Women's Championships (AWC),

The ninth edition will be hosted in Namibia from October 11 to 25.

The South African women are scheduled to play another international friendly match against Botswana at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on Saturday, with the kick-off at 3pm.

Banyana Banyana's qualification to compete at the AWC came after they beat the Union of Comoros 13-0 in the first leg of the qualifier match.

Comoros afterwards withdrew from playing the second-leg match in South Africa.

Coach Vera Pauw and her charges have been hard at work for the past three months preparing for the championships which will also be used as qualifiers for the 2015 Fifa Women's World Cup.

The top three finishers at the tournament will automatically qualify to compete at the World Cup scheduled to be held in Canada next year.

Preparations and planning for Namibia began immediately after qualification, with Pauw keeping the team busy playing friendly matches with neighbouring countries.

Thus far, Banyana Banyana have yet to lose a match, having beaten Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and Tanzania and played to a goalless draw with Zimbabwe.

"We have had some good and tough outings in our recent international friendly matches and the goals and big-margin victories show that we are capable of creating chances. But the team can do better as we head closer to competing at the championships," said Pauw.

She is in the process of finalising her team for Namibia with just a month left. Thus far, she has trimmed the squad to 26 players, leaving out defender Amanda Sister and striker Kgadi Makoma.

"We are not far from deciding the final make-up of the squad that will be representing South Africa in Namibia.

"We have to ensure that we get the right balance of the top players and the new recruits. However, we must pick a squad of high-quality players," she said.

The team has been drawn in group B, a tough group, together with Cameroon, Algeria and Ghana.

Banyana Banyana play Cameroon in the opening match on October 12.


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