JOHANNESBURG, July 30 (NNN-SABC) — South Africa’s women’s national football team, Banyana Banyana, departs for Kenya Thursday knowing they will have to be better upfront and score from the chances they create when they play Kenya in the second leg of their 2016 Olympic qualifier on Sunday.
The return of the overseas-based duo of keeper Roxanne Barker and Kelso Peskin as well as Refiloe Jane will strengthen the team and captain Janine Van Wyk said Wednesday the game against Kenya was a huge one for them because their Olympic dream would be over should they fail to win the tie.
Qualification for the Olympic Games on the other hand will erase the disappointment of failing to qualify for the World Cup staged in Canada this year. Banyana Banyana also donot want to miss out on the Olympics after they competed at the previous one three years ago in London.
The team want to have a chance to better their showing at the London Games where they were eliminated in the first round. Banyana Banyana missed a number of scoring chances in the first leg of their tie against Kenya, only managing a solitary goal.
Van Wyk said a slender lead means they will have to do it all on Sunday. “It has put a lot of pressure on us as a team, we know it is do or die for us. We know if we don’t go on and win it, our Olympic dream is over and done with so we know it is a huge game for us.”
Banyana Banyana expect a different game from Kenya who were very defensive in the first leg. Van Wyk said Sunday’s game should be more open than the first leg.
“I think it will be a different game. When we go and play them in Kenya, they are going to be opening up a lot of spaces. When we played them here they were very defensive, they did not want to concede goals and they nearly got it right. We came up with a really lucky goal I believe, but we deserved it, I think. “
Midfielder Refiloe Jane is in the squad after missing out on the first leg as she was away in South Korea at the World Student Games. Her return and that of the duo of Roxanne Barker and Kelso Peskin will strengthen the team. Barker said experience of playing overseas added value to the team.
“If you look at Nigeria they have a lot of girls who are playing in Sweden which is one of the best leagues in the world. I think it is good, it takes you out of your comfort zone and you play a lot of different styles of soccer.”
Should the team go through to the next round of the qualifiers, they are likely to face powerhouses Nigeria or Equatorial Guinea who played to a 1-ALL draw at the weekend. Banyana will depart for Kenya on Thursday afternoon.