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01 Jun 2012 19:35
Zambia's Mulayi Wilombe (centre) tries to dribble past Banyana team players Mary Ntsweng (right) and Noko Matlou. (Gallo)
Banyana Banyana face a stern test against fellow Olympic participants, Nigeria, with kick-off after the Bafana match at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Sunday evening.The Super Falcons are among the continent’s leading outfits, and should progress through to the knockout stages of the competition.This is Banyana’s penultimate fixture before finalising their 18-player squad ahead of their inaugural Olympic appearance.“It’s definitely a test for us - certainly physically, where they are superior,” Banyana coach Joseph Mkhonza said on Friday.“But what we have is speed, and we do match them.”The side has been strengthened by the return of star midfielder Portia Modise, alongside with their striking duo of captain Amanda Dlamini and the free-scoring Noko Matlou.“We have to make sure that we put [into action] everything that we have been working on in the last weeks.“They are a high-profile team, and with us at home, I’m expecting a positive, good performance.”Banyana easily brushed aside Tanzania 5-2 in an away friendly, and Zambia 4-1 in a recent African Women’s Championship qualifier match.Their last fixture before selection is the return leg at home against the Zambians, in Nelspruit on June 16.The SA Football Association will then hand the team over to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee.Banyana’s final 18-women squad for the tournament is expected to be named later in the month.“We have a competitive squad of 30 players to select from,” Mkhonza said.“On the injury front, only Mammelo Makhabane has been ruled out for the Olympics because of injury.“There are some other minor injuries that the medical team will advise us on.” - Sapa
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