24 February 2013

South Africa: Banyana Banyana On Track With Preparations for Cyprus Cup

Preparations for the annual 12-Nation Cyprus Women's Cup by South African Senior Women's National Team (Banyana Banyana) are on track and the girls cannot wait for the start of the tournament.

The tournament kicks off on 6 March in Larnaca, Nicosia and Paralimni where the three Groups are based and is scheduled to end on Wednesday, 13 March 2013. The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana completed their final training session at the School of Excellence in Johannesburg and will depart for Cyprus on Monday, 25 February 2013.

Head coach Joseph Mkhonza said he had a clean bill of health and that the mood in the camp was at an all-time high.

"From my observation, all the players are raring to go and have really put on a lot of hard work in the past week. We are all excited about participating in the upcoming competition and once you have a happy bunch of players, it is good for the overall objective.

"It has also been interesting to see the performance of the new players in the team, they are giving their best," said coach Mkhonza who however, said the level of fitness among most of the players still remains a big challenge.

"The girls have been inactive at their clubs for some time now and it is showing. Improving their fitness levels will be work in progress but we hope to reach the required levels of fitness when the tournament begins. Having Nomathemba and Gloria back in the squad is an advantage as they have always been key members of this squad," said Mkhonza.

He said such tournaments were vital for the team's general growth.

"It is always an advantage to be invited to play in these international tournaments as it gives us an opportunity to play against high profile teams and help us develop for upcoming major tournaments like the African Women's Championship and the World Cup in 2015," said Mkhonza.

Banyana Banyana will play an international friendly match against New Zealand on Saturday, 2 March at the Alpha Sports Centre in Larnaca, Cyprus.

Kick-off is at 15h00.

The South Africans have been drawn in Group C along with Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and South Korea.

Group A will consist of New Zealand, Italy, England and Scotland while Group B will be contested by Canada, Finland, Netherlands and Switzerland.

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