South African’s Banyana Banyna prepares first World Cup

Banyana Banyana goalkeeper, Andile Dlamini, is confident as the team prepares for first World Cup. Photo: South African Media

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (ADV) –  The South African women’s football team, Banyana Banyana, have sacrificed their time in preparation of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) World Cup.

Team goalkeeper, Andile Dlamini, said the hard work they put during the festive season has brought positive results.

“It was a great start to our World Cup preparations, which had to do a lot with sacrifices,

“When our families were enjoying the December break, we continued with our training programmes – hard work by us made it possible for us to start the year in the way that we started,” he said.

Dlamini said even though they did not win the international friendly games against Netherlands and Sweden, they realised that they have learnt a lot from the friendly games.

These were the first fixtures of the year for the South African Senior Women’s National Team, which they used for preparations for the FIFA Women’s World Cup coming up in June this year.

“I don’t think we could have coped, especially in the second of the two games had we not put in the hard shift during the festive season. But you could see that we all the hard work showed when we played against these top nations,” she added.

Banyana Banyana lost 2-1 to Netherlands and drew 0-0 against Sweden – they are ranked 7th and 9th in the world.

“On the field of play, it’s 11 v 11, and it’s not about where you are as a country in terms of rankings – whoever takes their chances will win on the day, which is the lesson we learnt. I saw how we played against the Netherlands, it was beautiful football but we did not convert our chances,” added Sticks, as she is popularly known.

Dlamini played in the second match against Sweden. This was her first start for Banyana Banyana since September in the 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championship in Port Elizabeth.

Banyana Banyana is set to participate in the Finland, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Czech Republic at the Cyprus Women’s Cup next month. The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup runs from 7 June to 7 July.

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