Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor

Kgoale says Banyana must show steel to achieve Paris Olympic dream

'It will be a really tough game, here and at home,' said the Banyana midfielder.

Banyana Banyana midfielder Nomvula Kgoale says South Africa must be ‘mentally tough’ if they are to overcome Nigeria and make it to the Paris Olympics later this year.

Desiree Ellis’ side take on the Super Falcons over two legs, with only the winner grabbing a place in Paris. Banyana are currently in Nigeria’s capital Abuja preparing for Friday’s first leg, with the second leg to follow at Loftus Stadium on April 9.

“It is extremely important to be mentally tough,” Kgoale told Safa Media.

“We know how tough Nigeria are. They have won so many WAFCONs, we know we beat them last time, and they will also be looking for revenge. It will be a really tough game, here and at home.”

Banyana beat Nigeria 2-1 in the group stages of the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, going on to win the WAFCON for the first time ever and qualify for the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup.

But it is Nigeria who have long been the strongest nation in the continental game, winning 11 of 14 WAFCON tournaments since the competition began in 1991.

Super Falcons problems

The Super Falcons, coached by American Randy Waldrum, have not had the smoothest of build ups to this match, losing defender Ashleigh Plumptre to injury, while star striker Asisat Oshoala, the current Women’s African Footballer of the Year, is reportedly only set to arrive in camp tomorrow, just a day before the game at the MKO Abiola Stadium.

It is hot and humid in Abuja, meanwhile, but Kgoale believes Bayana have time to adjust to the conditions.

“The air here is much heavier, but I played in the US for over six years and I know how it is to play in this weather. You feel like you are breathing heat,” said Kgoale.

“But I am sure in two days time we will be adjusted and ready to go.”  

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