By FOCUS REPORTER
The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana will take their preparations for the CAF African Women’s Championships to the next level, when they take on Cameroon in a friendly international at the the Lesetlheng village’s Moruleng Stadium in North West Province.
The match will be played on Sunday, September 5 at 3pm.With the showpiece of African women’s football set to take place in Gauteng at the end of October this year, Banyana coach Augustine “Mthakathi” Makalakalane will be using the outing against Cameroon to try out various combinations that will stand the national team in good stead. Banyana are currently ranked ranked third in Africa and 57th on the FIFA rankings, compared to the Cameroonians who occupy ninth spot in Africa and 77th in the world.
The local side (Banyana) will train at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Centre from August 30 to September 4. This will be at the same training facility used by the England national team during the recent 2010 FIFA World Cup.Among the 20-members in the national squad named by Makalakalane on Tuesday, August 24 in Johannesburg, are two uncapped players in Kovsies midfielder Gabisile Hlumbane and striker Betty Maseko from Hallelujah Zebra Force which is in the North West stream of the Sasol League.
Banyana will be led by experienced defender Simphiwe ‘Shorty’ Dludlu, with goalkeeper Simphiwe Mnguni (Local United FC in KwaZulu Natal), midfielder Sana Mollo (Bloemfontein Celtic) and Cape Town-based striker Leandra Smeda (Ambassadors) also part of the squad.
The Makalakalane’s coached side’s last match was a 6-0 victory over Tanzania, in a friendly international played in Thembisa last month.
“The outing against Cameroon will give a good indication of the shape and form of our players as we work towards the ultimate aim of finishing among the top two sides at the forthcoming CAF African Women’s Championships,” said Makalakalane, adding that the finalists at the continental women’s event will represent Africa at the FIFA women’s World Cup in Germany next year.
Safa acting President, Mandla “Shoes” Mazibuko has congratulated the players on their selection to the Banyana squad for the fixture against Cameroon.
“A South Africa vs Cameroon clash usually brings out the best in both sides, irrespective of gender or age group, and I have no doubt that this much-anticipated fixture will have all the makings of a classic football showdown that will be remembered long after the match. It will also give our girls a chance to prepare well for the African Women’s Championship to be held in October in our country,” said Mazibuko.
Executive Mayor of the Bojanala Platinum District Municipality Councillor RL Motsepe, welcomed the opportunity for the international fixture to be played in his area.
“The Bojanala Platinum District Municipality is delighted to bring international calibre sports action for our sports-loving fans to enjoy. I trust both Banyana and Cameroon will enjoy the warm hospitality of our people and take home with them fond memories of our area and its diversified cultures,” said Councillor Motsepe.
Women’s Football chairperson, Nomsa Mahlangu said it was great to see such a match taking place on Women’s Month.“Following on from the much-proclaimed women’s month of August, Safa is pleased to once again offer our football-loving people the chance to witness the Banyana in action and make the nation proud. We are confident that Cameroon will prove to be worthy opponents,” said Mahlangu.The Moruleng stadium gates will open at 12h00 on match day with the first 500 spectators to enter the venue each set to receive fabulous Sasol football merchandise. Entrance to the match is free of charge.