It’s all systems go for the International friendly between Banyana Banyana and the Netherlands at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday. The match will be known as the Winnie Madikizela Mandela Challenge.
27 000 tickets have already been obtained already. The tickets are free at Computicket, Shoprite and at Checkers.
It’s only a friendly, but pride is at stake.
Banyana have made it to their first-ever World Cup in France in June and want to impress, although they are coming out of an off-season break.
Banyana Coach Desiree Ellis says, “We have also brought in some more players because this is the only way you can test the players at this level and this where we actually finalise your core group, but as any team, you want to win it but you also want to see improvement in areas and that’s what we looking for .”
Netherlands Coach Sarina Wiegman says, “Of course, you want to win every game. So, when we go onto the field we want to win the game, but it’s also preparation for the World Cup and this is the only time we can get to see some more players.”
The Netherlands are ranked 7th in the world and have a well-established pedigree.
However, Banyana are a spirited bunch with Desiree Ellis winning CAF Coach of the Year and Thembi Kgatlana the CAF Player of the Year.
Banyana Captain Janine Van Wyk says, “Tomorrow for us, the biggest challenge is playing a team that is ranked top 10 in the world. We know that they are highly experienced players as well. They play at a high level, year in year out. It’s going to be a challenge for us.”
27 000 tickets have been sold, but the Cape Town Stadium can accommodate 50 000 spectators so there are still lots of free tickets available for the public to come and join in the festivities.
“Last year, when we played in Sweden there was the same interest, not just football is growing, but the fanbase is growing. We hope we can put up a good showing. Footballers are entertainers. We need to come out and entertain the crowd with the Netherlands brand of football. I’m sure it’s going to be a very exciting game ,” says Ellis.
Kick off is at 3pm. Get those free tickets and support the pride of the nation – Banyana Banyana.