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S. Africa's national team "Banyana Banyana" prepares for Olympics

05-18-2012 07:51 BJT Special Report:2012 London Olympic Games |

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It’s the world’s most popular sport, and soccer will definitely be grabbing the headlines at the London Olympic Games, especially with the likes of David Beckham involved. In the women’s event, the USA and Japan are expected to battle for the top prize but African sides are hoping to pull-off an upset.

South Africa’s national team, nicknamed "Banyana Banyana", are preparing for the Games.

This is not a celebratory jig - it’s far too early for that - but this does perhaps illustrate that Banyana Banyana are a close knit, united football squad. South Africa along with Cameroon will be flying the flag for African women’s football at the London Olympics. Ranked a lowly 65 in FIFA’s rankings, Banyana are the major outsiders but there’s a belief in the camp that they can achieve success.

Banyana Banyana coach Joseph Mkhonza said, "When you are favorite, everybody’s looking after you and nobody is looking at us now. And everybody is saying we are just going to make up the numbers but we know we are going there to make a statement."

Banyana’s hopes of making it past the group stage will be far from easy. Sweden and Canada are both top ten sides while Japan won the women’s world cup last year and are one of the favorites in London.

Banyana Banyana striker Noko Matlou said, "We must not underestimate them as we know that Japan are the world Champions. So we just have to go there and compete with them."

Reporter: “If nothing else, this Banyana team hope that some solid performances in London will do wonders for promoting the women’s game in South Africa. Thereby attracting sponsors and making the women’s league more professional."

Banyana Banyana captain Amanda Dlamini said, "You know I have kind of accepted that I might not be able to play in the professional league in South Africa because that is how long it has been taking. But I think for me now, it starts with me now to make that difference to open those doors for the young people that are still to come. So even if I don’t bare those fruits at least I would have done my part in terms of developing the sport and opening the doors for other people then at least I would gain my respect for opening the doors for women’s football in South Africa."

Given Bafana’s absense from the men’s draw, extra focus and facilities have been made available to the squad. As for their medal chances? The players are cautiously optimistic?

Banyana Banyana captain said, "I think we have the ability to do so but I think for now it would be really ambitious of us to think ahead of medal. I think for us now our task is to probably go through to the second round."

If they can do that, just imagine the dancing then!

 

Editor:Zhang Rui |Source: CNTV.CN

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