Rio Olympic qualifiers next mission for Sasol Banyana Banyana
Having completed their qualification for the All Africa Games which will be held in Congo Brazzaville in September this year, the South African Women’s Senior National team Banyana Banyana will now shift their focus to the 2016 Olympic qualifiers. The qualifiers get underway this month with only the top two teams in Africa getting a chance to compete at the world stage.
The 2016 Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 05 – 21 August. Banyana will be looking to redeem themselves after losing out on a spot to represent the country at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. Vera Pauw’s charges finished fourth at the African Women’s Championships which were held in Namibia in October last year, thus missing out on the third spot allocated to an African team.
The Sasol sponsored Banyana Banyana have only qualified for the Olympics once thus far, this was in 2012 under Coach Joseph Mkhonza. The Olympic qualifiers are structured in a four-round format with a home and away fixture. South Africa has been exempted from the first round and are set to get their qualification campaign underway when they lock horns with Gabon in the first leg of round two.
The match is scheduled for Saturday, 23 May in Libreville, Gabon with the return leg set to be played at the end of May at the Dobsonville Stadium, Soweto. According to the qualifying format, Pauw’s charges will either face Kenya or Botswana in the 3rd round before battling it out with Nigeria or Equatorial Guinea in the final round to book their spot for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Banyana Banyana are set to go into camp on Sunday, 17 May in preparation for the Gabon away leg.