Banyana preps for tournaments with two friendlies against Senegal

Mamelodi Sundowns and Banyana Banyana goalkeeper.
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Banyana Banyana goalkeeper, Andile Dlamini, says the national team will use the two friendly matches against Senegal to prepare for the upcoming big tournaments later this year. The Council of Southern Africa Football Associations Women’s Championship takes place in October in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape, while it is not yet clear whether the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations will take place this year.

Banyana Banyana will return to action for the first time since they failed to overcome Nigeria in the Olympic qualifiers early last month. They will play two international friendlies against Senegal in the next couple of weeks. Dlamini says they will use the two friendly matches to return to an upward trajectory as far as form and results are concerned.

“Senegal is a great team we are also a great side as Banyana we have been doing a great job we just need to make sure we play these friendly games to see where we can improve.”

Dlamini also says they will use the two matches to prepare for the COSAFA Championship and the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations if, and when, it happens. Banyana are the WAFCON defending champions and will also look to reclaim the COSAFA title.

“It’s not only WAFCON that’s coming up also COSAFA and I think we need to prepare for such tournaments to keep us fit. We need such games so that a lot of talent can be seen as well.”

Dlamini was recently voted COSAFA’s Women’s Goalkeeper of The Year.

“This is important that I inspire the next generation, it’s important that you play that role to inspire more Andile Dlaminis that come from disadvantaged communities and I am still in the journey of making it. I am not where I want to be.”

The 31-year-old was a regular goalkeper when Banyana won the WAFCON tournament, but sat on the bench at last year’s FIFA World Cup in Australia and New Zealand to the surprise of many people who felt she deserved to start ahead of Kaylin Swart. But Dlamini was diplomatic about the snub.

“Obviously every player wants to perform at the highest level but a coach decides who she wants to play because of certain things that she wants me and Kaylin Swart are very supportive of each other we love each other.”

Banyana’s matches against Senegal are away on the 31st of this month and again on the 4th of June.

Related: Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis on hopes that the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament will still take place