Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
1 minute read
3 Aug 2016
10:06 am

Moment of truth for Banyana

Sibongiseni Gumbi

The moment of truth has come and Banyana Banyana, who have been in preparation for the past eight months, get their campaign at the Rio Olympics underway tonight.

Banyana Banyana celebrate a goal. (Photo by Gallo Images)

Banyana face the team who beat them 4-1 at the previous Olympics (London 2012), in Sweden. The game will start at 6pm South African time.

The team have gone through some changes over the past four years, and have said they are now better prepared and more experienced.

Vera Pauw’s team were thrashed 4-1 by New Zealand in their last friendly match last weekend, but according to team captain Janine van Wyk (below), that was a good omen.

She said the defeat served as an eye-opener, and brought them back to earth after they were overwhelmed by the feeling of being at the Olympic Village.

In Sweden, Banyana face a team who have plenty of experience and are considered one of the best in the world. They are 46 places above them in the Fifa rankings. But Van Wyk didn’t seem too perturbed by that, revealing that they have recognised Sweden’s weaknesses which they hope to capitalise on.

“This time around we are looking forward to the match and going for it as best as we can and we are high on confidence. I think we are really capable of getting a good result if we stick together and work on the aspects we have been working on for the past eight months.

“This game will give us a lot of confidence going forward if we get a good result – so we are really looking forward to as it means a lot to us, probably one of the most important matches of the tournament. It will give us a good start (if we win it),” said the 29-year-old.

She admitted that the team were nervous as the moment they have been waiting for got closer, but said it was all for the best.