Banyana touch down in France
BANYANA Banyana arrived safely in France for the historic Fifa Women’s World Cup 2019 buzzing with confidence.
The Senior Women’s National Team touched down in the French capital of Paris yesterday morning with Safa’s head of delegation, Emma Hendricks, saying everyone was in great spirits.
The team left OR Tambo International Airport around 6 pm on Thursday.
“We have arrived well though a bit fatigued but everyone is in high spirits,” said Hendricks.
Banyana will play one friendly match against Norway in Amiens on June 2 before kicking off their maiden Fifa World Cup campaign with a match against Spain on June 8. They then travel to Paris for a date with China before rounding off their group stage matches with a match against Germany in Montpellier.
Before their departure, Safa president Danny Jordaan spelt out the bonuses structure of the team which he said was almost on par with that of the Men’s Senior National Team, Bafana Bafana.
Before the trip, head coach of Banyana, Desiree Ellis, had added three players to the 23 she named for the World Cup.
The trio — midfielders Nompumelelo Nyandeni and Ongeziwe Ndlangisa, as well as goalkeeper Jessica Williams — have been called up as standby players and travelled with the squad to France but will return to South Africa after the friendly against Norway on June 2 in Amiens.
“For a tournament like the World Cup, you need to have players on standby in the event of an injury to anyone in the squad that has been selected. The three players have been part of the Banyana Banyana set-up in recent times and know how the team plays,” said Ellis.
“The reason we are going with them to France is that we still have a match to play and don’t want to have to call someone from back home, and also they will be at the same level of fitness as the other players so it will not be a challenge to introduce them back into the team – so in other words we always have to be ready with our planning.”
Meanwhile, the China-based duo of Linda Motlhalo and Thembi Kgatlana have reported for national team duty. Both missed the friendly match against the USA earlier this month (May 12) due to club commitments. — WWR. DESPITE only having four tough games to secure their place in the Super Rugby play-offs, Sharks skipper Louis Schreuder says the team has not started to feel pressure.
The Sharks will today host the Lions in a Super Rugby South African derby at King’s Park with kickoff set for 5.15 pm.
The Durban-based franchise is currently fourth in the congested South African conference and seventh in the overall log with 29 points after 12 outings.
To make it to the play-offs, the Sharks will need to finish inside the top eight of the overall log while a top finish in their conference will grant them a home match in the knockout phase.
The best way for the Sharks to achieve that would be winning almost all their four remaining matches against the Lions, Hurricanes, Jagaures and Stormers in the round-robin format.
But that won’t be easy as all the other sides are also looking to make the next round.
Schrueder is obviously aware how the log looks like, but he said their focus at the moment is on their next game against the rejuvenated Lions side.
“I don’t think we have even spoken about pressure, obviously we know what the log looks like, anyone can still go up and anyone can still go down as well,” said Schreuder.
“We are just focusing on the Lions game, this is the game we need to focus on and a game we need to win, so it’s a week-for-week thing and if our preparations go well and we perform well the log will look after itself.
“I think the Lions are confident after their three or two wins now against good oppositions. The Waratahs and Highlanders are good teams so the Lions will come here with a lot of confidence. They have got key guys back except for Warren so they will be looking to have a good performance.”
Sharks young and talented hooker Dylan Richardson is likely to make his Super Rugby debut today as he has been named in the replacements.
Sharks coach Robert du Preez said the 19-year-old Dylan Richardson. “will definitely get a chance, he is a guy with awesome talent and I’m really excited to see how he goes on Saturday.
“He is very physical, and he has got a technical set to go with that, so I think what a wonderful opportunity for a young guy like him.”