We are making great strides – Pauw
The South African Senior Women’s National Team, Banyana Banyana, has learned a lot from their two international friendly matches against the Netherlands.
The outing was in preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games which start in August.
South Africa’s coach Vera Pauw said the losses are nothing to be embarrassed about, though.
“The Netherlands is ranked 13th in the world, they have been to the last 16 of the World Cup – that in itself shows that a 1-0 and 2-0 defeat is not something to be embarrassed about or that we have not done well, even though as a sportsperson you always want to win and the same goes for the players.
The fact is we had our chances but did not use them. We have seen that we can definitely play against any team,” said Pauw.
“We need to see if the level of the likes of Germany, France, USA is within our reach. We learned that we need to stay flexible when under pressure because there were moments in the game when we were able to hold them but did not do much with our attacking options.
There was a period of about 30 minutes in the game when we matched them and were even better, and that is really an encouraging step towards the Olympics.”
In the first match captain, Sherida Spitse found the back of the net while a brace by Vivianne Miedema in the second clash did the damage.
Pauw adds that the two matches have shown a lot of improvement from her charges, but also indicated there is still some work to be done.
“There have been some very good step ups from some players who have really done well but then again there are also some players that need to step up. The pressure of the game must not restrict you as a player but it must bring the best out of you.
We know that we have to rely on teamwork than the teams with bigger players as they can compensate with their physical strength. So yes we have made a huge step especially defensively, but we must make bigger steps when we attack,” added Pauw.
Banyana Banyana next face the United States of America in an international friendly match.
The clash will take place on Saturday, 9 July 2016 at the Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.
Kickoff is at 12h00 local time (19h00 SA Time – USA is seven hours behind South Africa).
Pauw says that is an even bigger assignment for the squad.
“That is a completely different story altogether. We will prepare well for them,” concluded the Banyana Banyana mentor.
The USA is also using the matches to prepare for the Olympics.
The Stars and Stripes are in Group G together with New Zealand, France and Colombia.
Since the beginning of 2016, the USA has won 12 of the 13 matches they have played.
The only draw came recently when they hosted Japan and the match ended 3-3 (Thursday, 2 June), but three days later (Sunday, 5 June) the USA registered a 2-nil victory against the same opponent.
They last suffered defeat in December 2015, going down 1-0 to the China Peoples Republic in an international friendly.
Meanwhile, Nompumelelo Nyandeni is set to become the second highest capped player in Banyana Banyana history should she play against the USA.
With the second match against The Netherlands, the midfielder equaled the number of appearances of 124 made by retired forward Portia Modise. Defender Noko Matlou will reach that figure in the upcoming USA match – she is on 123.
Captain Janine van Wyk is the most capped with 130.
List of players with over 50 caps:
Janine van Wyk 130
Portia Modise 124
Nompumelelo Nyandeni 124
Noko Matlou 123
Amanda Dlamini 99
Nothando Vilakazi 85
Mamello Makhabane 71
Sanah Mollo 68
Refiloe Jane 61
Banyana Banyana vs USA
DATE: Saturday, 9 July 2016
VENUE: Soldier Field
KICKOFF: 12H00 local time (19h00 SA Time)