Tough draw for Banyana
Banyana Banyana technical advisor, Shakes Mashaba (File)
Johannesburg - South Africa have been drawn in a tough Group F in the women’s soccer tournament at the 2012 London Olympics after the draw was conducted on Tuesday.
Banyana Banyana will take on current world champions Japan, Sweden, who finished third at the FIFA World Cup in 2011, and Canada, who are a rising power in the women’s game.
All three of South Africa’s opponents at the Olympics are positioned in the top seven in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings, making this just about the toughest draw they could have received.
Banyana will be appearing in their first major FIFA finals competition and will be desperate to make a good impression, but their FIFA ranking of 65 shows the difficulties of their task.
Group E sees hosts Great Britain drawn with New Zealand, Cameroon and Brazil, a pool in which the South Americans and home side will be heavy favourites.
Group G has favourites USA and France drawn with Colombia and North Korea in what could be a fairly one-sided pool.
The top two nations in each pool advance to the quarter-finals, along with the two best-ranked third-place finishers.
The USA have won three of the previous four women’s football tournaments at the Olympics - 1996, 2004 and 2008.
Norway were the only team to break that run when they were successful at the 2000 Games in Sydney.
Group A: Great Britain, Senegal, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay
Group B: Mexico, South Korea, Gabon, Switzerland
Group C: Brazil, Egypt, Belarus, New Zealand
Group D: Spain, Japan, Honduras, Morocco
Note: The top two teams from each group go through to the quarter-finals.
Group E: Great Britain, New Zealand, Cameroon, Brazil
Group F: Japan, Canada, Sweden, South Africa
Group G: USA, France, Colombia, North Korea
Note: The top two teams from each group and the two best third-placed teams qualify for the quarter-finals.