Bafana Bafana

Sweden honoured to face World Cup bound Banyana Banyana

2019-01-16 09:20
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 02: Janine van Wyk, Desiree Ellis and Emma Hendricks during the Banyana Banyana Arrival Press Conference at OR Tambo International Airport on December 02, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Head coach of the Sweden Women's National Team, Peter Gehardsson, feels honoured to be part of the Albertina Sisulu Centenary Challenge celebrations where they will face Banyana Banyana in an international friendly match.

READ: SAFA release latest national team fixture calendar

This is the second time the Europeans, who are ranked 9th in the world, play South Africa.

They visited South Africa last year running out as victors in a 3-0 win.

At the time, both teams were in preparations to qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, which they have now achieved.

Banyana Banyana and Sweden will face off on Tuesday, January 22 at the Cape Town Stadium.

Kick-off is at 19:00.

"We are ready to play this game on this very special day, I have read and I know a little bit of history of this woman and we are honoured to feature in this match. It is also nice to be back because we had a very good time when we were here last time," said Gehardsson.

"We had fantastic sessions last year, and now that we are back I want to say congratulations to Desiree and her staff and the South African people that the team is going to the world cup – we have been there many times before.

"Women's football is growing rapidly and a lot is happening. We feel our preparations for the world cup qualification was appropriate when we were here now we both have qualified for the World Cup - and we have one thing in common – it is our first World Cup."

Three days prior (Saturday, January 19) to taking on Sweden, South Africa will go toe-to-toe with the Netherlands in the inaugural Winnie Mandela International Challenge.

South Africa's head coach Desiree Ellis is looking forward to locking horns with the top footballing nations.

"It was fantastic to play Sweden last year as it was the start of great preparations for us because preparation was key for us to be here today. Here we are again facing Sweden, another great start to our preparations for the tournament itself.

"We are really grateful for all the support we have received, and it is important to put the smiles on the people of South Africa. To be playing these two games for Mama Winnie Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu, iconic women who have set the tone for us.

"You know growing up as a kid you think opportunities will never come – but former president Nelson Mandela gets released and I get the opportunity to play for the national team at the age of 30, so I will forever be grateful to the two families (Mandela and Sisulu).

We're going to go out there and do our best to make the names of the families proud because they set the tone for women in this country. It’s a big year for us. We are very thankful of this opportunity to play these two giants in women’s football."

The two coaches were speaking at the launch of a partnership between the South African Football Association (SAFA) and the Mandela Legacy.

The event, which was held in Cape Town was attended by, among others, Honourable Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister of International Relations who was also representing the Sisulu family, SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan, Zondwa Mandela from the Mandela Legacy as well as the Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato.

The aim of the two fixtures is to honour two of the greatest struggle icons to ever live in South Africa – Mama Winnie Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu.

The matches are also part of the three nations' preparations for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup which kicks off in June in France.

Entry to the matches are free but fans need tickets to gain access into the stadium, and these can be collected at Computicket, Shoprite and Checkers.

Banyana Banyana Fixtures:

Saturday, January 19

South Africa vs Netherlands

Annual Winnie Mandela International Challenge


Cape Town Stadium

Tuesday, January 22

South Africa vs Sweden

Albertina Sisulu Centenary Challenge


Cape Town Stadium

Read more on:    banyana ­banyana  |  desiree ellis  |  soccer


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