Cape Times

Hopefully Banyana can follow the same journey as Sweden, says Seger

SASOL are the proud sponsors of Banyana Banyana

- Rodney Reiners

THE ROAD to improvemen­t and the continuing journey to raise the profile of women’s football in South Africa reside in regularly bringing the world’s top nations to the country. In essence, to be among the best, you have to play against the best. And, make no mistake, Sweden can be counted as one of the best in the world.

Banyana Banyana are, therefore, set to face a test of their credential­s when they host the top-class Swedes in an internatio­nal friendly at Cape Town Stadium on Sunday afternoon (2pm kickoff).

Sweden are captained by the highly-experience­d Caroline Seger. The 32-year-old midfielder is more than chuffed to have the opportunit­y to lead her country against SA.

“I am looking forward to the game,” said Seger. “There is big interest in it. It’s also going to be great to play in this amazing stadium, it will be a good memory and we expect a good game too. We played South Africa at the Olympics, it was tough and we only managed to score and win in the last minute. It’s a dream to be in South Africa.”

Seger also spoke about the importance of the support of her country’s national federation in ensuring that women’s football continues to grow.

“Our federation is always backing us,” added Seger. “We are able to fly across the world and play in games like this. I’ve been in the national team since the age of 19, I’m now 32 and a lot has happened along the way. But the federation is always there to support us. Women’s soccer is growing in Sweden and around the world as well. Hopefully, through games like this, South Africa can follow the same journey as us.”

Sweden are coached by Peter Gerhardsso­n, who will certainly have some inside knowledge on Banyana, considerin­g that he is a close friend of current Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter.

The friendly against Banyana is part of Gerhardsso­n’s team’s preparatio­ns for the next European championsh­ips.

“It’s my second time visiting South Africa,” said Gerhardsso­n. “It’s an honour for me to coach the Swedish national team, and I’m proud to be in South Africa. The country has a history and one of the most famous people in Nelson Mandela.

“The situation is that we have to see how we play. Playing against South Africa gives us an opportunit­y to see what we can change and what direction we have. We are proud to be here and to play against the best team in Africa. For us, this is part of our preparatio­ns for the European Championsh­ips and it’s going to be fantastic to play in this arena.”

 ??  ?? FIND THE THAT SPACE: Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis guides her team during a training session.
FIND THE THAT SPACE: Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis guides her team during a training session.
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