Johannesburg – Banyana Banyana’s preparations are currently underway at the St Peter’s College stadium in Johannesburg for their international friendly match against Zambia on Saturday.
Banyana head coach Desiree Ellies has reiterated that the national side is gunning for a hard contest when they take on the Copper Queens.
Ellis’ side has invested their energy on team fitness and physical strength and will use their friendly match in bid to prepare for the crucial African Woman Cup of Nations (Awcon) qualifier.
The SA women’s national team is scheduled face Algeria in the qualifiers of the Awcon tournament, on both occasions, starting with the home game on Friday, February 18 and the away tie staged for February 23.
On a sunny day and with only a day before they jet out to Zambia, players shared how they feel ahead of the friendly match against Mzansi’s southern African rivals this weekend.
Banyana goalkeeper and captain Andile Dlamini, who has been plagued by injuries that have ruled her out for over seven months last season, said she was ready to bounce back and feature in all matches.
“I’ve worked extremely hard to get back to fitness after a long injury lay-off and being given this chance to present the squad yet again is a great honour for me,” Dlamini said.
Dlamini added that the team will strive to maintaining their winning mentality against Zambia, a side she labelled as very strong.
“It will be good for us to have winning mentality so that we can be competitive, more especially as we are now focusing on going to play in the Awcon.
“These preparations are meant to give the team some stability, so that we ready for our qualifying games against Algeria, they are one of strongest teams on the continent.”
Banyana’s goal scoring machine Rhoda Mulaudzi said she will be eyeing goals in this upcoming encounter because she is on verge of being the leading top goal scorer for the SA women’s national team.
Mulaudzi has currently netted four goals since she has featured for Banyana.
Mulaudzi said she has been inspired by some of the former Banyana brilliant strikers such as Portia Modise and Noko Matlou.
“Well, these were best players the country has ever had, more especially Modise, who is the all-time leading top goal scorer for Banyana, it’s these stars that motivate me to make every game meaningful by finding back of the net,” she said.
Ellis said as they were wrapping their preparations before leaving for Zambia on Thursday, she was happy with her charges’ level of fitness.
“The level of fitness was worrying at first but we used these few days to pick up match fitness as we have been in recess and the festive season break,” said Ellis.
“We will not treat this game against Zambia as a friendly match but will use it to test new players that have recently joined us.
“You can’t go to the next level if you don’t test players against the top teams in the world and the strongest opposition,” Ellis added.
Ellis has beefed up her squad with the new faces, Karabo Mohale, Mamelodi Sundowns’ midfielder Oratile Mokwena and the goal poacher Nthabiseng Majiya.