12 May 2019

South Africa: We Have to Be Fearless Against the U.S.A. - Banyana Banyana Captain

Captain of the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana, Janine van Wyk, says they have to be very organised if they are to prevent the USA Women's National Team from scoring against them, and getting a win.

The two nations meet in an international friendly match scheduled for tonight (Sunday, 12 May 2019) at the Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Both sides are using the fixture to prepare for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, which will be played in France from 7 June and 7 July.

Van Wyk was part of the team that lost 1-0 in the first meeting between the two countries in 2016 in Chicago - at the time South Africa was preparing for the 2016 Rio Olympics Games. This will be the second encounter between them.

The USA recently faced Belgium and emerged 6-0 winners in a friendly match, and the Banyana Banyana defender says they have to be alert to thwart their relentless attacks.

The host nation is currently ranked number one in the world in women's football, and are the reigning champions of the FIFA Women's World Cup.

"The US is a very good team, they are strong in attacking and like to score goals, and they will put as many goals in the back of the net as possible, so it is going to be crucial for us as a team to be as organised as possible. Every minute for us is going to count to not concede goals - they will create chances and it is going to be up to every single one of us to prevent that," said Van Wyk after their final training session before the match.

With women's football on the rise around the world, especially in the United States, about 20-thousand tickets have already been sold for the much-anticipated clash.

"It's going to be a tough encounter for us especially away from home. They are team that draws a large amount of fans that come to their game, so the atmosphere is going to be amazing but for us in terms of performance we are hoping to put in a good shift going into the World Cup. It is a very important match to see how far we have come as a country and as a team, and also what we need to fix before we start the tournament next month - and this game will help a lot," added Van Wyk.

She says that a strong mentality will be needed to overcome the might of the USA.

"I believe we are team that creates chances no matter what opposition we are facing, so if we can put one goal in the back of the net it will count for us. We need to go with a focused mind, a strong and winning mentality and be fearless playing against the world's best and showcase our talent - and I believe if we stick to our plan, we will get a positive result," she said.

This will be Banyana Banyana's eighth match of preparations for the FIFA World Cup - they have already faced Sweden, Netherlands, Finland (twice), Czech Republic, Korea DPR and Jamaica.

Their ninth and final preparation game will be against Norway.

This first ever meeting between the two nations will take place on Sunday, 2 June 2019 at Stade Moulonguet in Amiens, France.

Kickoff is at 20h00.

At the World Cup, South Africa has been drawn against Spain, China PR and Germany.

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