Banyana Banyana aim to stay on top in Africa

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The South African women’s senior football team’s striker Jermaine Seoposenwe says it is very important to qualify for major tournaments to remain at the top in the continent. Banyana Banyana will meet Tanzania in the first leg, third round tie of the Paris Olympic Games qualifiers in Dar es Salaam on Friday. South Africa are currently the African champions.

Banyana Banyana will be looking to qualify for the Olympics for the third time in their history. They qualified for the 2012 London Olympics and 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil. The team has also qualified for the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France and the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Banyana striker Jermaine Seoposenwe says it is crucial to qualify for major tournaments to remain on top in the continent.

“I think if we want to stay on top of Africa, we have to continue qualifying for major tournaments so that we are tested every year. So, it’s important for us to get there, we haven’t been there in a while. A lot of players have not experienced the Olympics. It’s important for the development and growth of the team and new players need to experience big tournaments and for them to understand what it means to play at those levels and how it tests you,”

South Africa will be hoping to overcome Tanzania both home and away and progress to the last round of the Olympic qualifiers. Seoposenwe, who plays for CF Monterrey in Mexico, says all the teams want to beat them since they are African champions.

“Everyone wants to come and beat us because we won Wafcon, we are regarded as the number one team. It’s always so much responsibility, so much pressure but I know the team is determined to win to return back with great results,”

Banyana have included several inexperienced players in the team such as TS Galaxy striker Nicole Michael. She says the intensity at the international level is very high.

“The intensity is very high at Banyana, Hollywood is not that high as Banyana but the intensity is good I am keeping up and I am very happy to be here and working hard,”

Banyana missed out on qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after they were knocked out by neighbours Botswana. While few players have played in the Olympics before, it will be a new experience for many young players like Michael.

“It will mean a lot to me. I would not mind going to the Olympics. It will be a good experience, especially for us as youngsters I think we are ready. We are up for the challenge, we want to win and obviously qualify for the Olympics,”

The second leg will be played in Mbombela next week on Monday.