Banyana captain set to return for Ghana game

15 May 2014

Banyana Banyana captain and central defender Janine van Wyk looks set to return from injury and claim her place in the starting eleven for a friendly match against Ghana at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto on Sunday.

Van Wyk has been sidelined for almost three months because of a collateral knee ligament strain, which forced her to miss last month’s 2-2 draw with Zimbabwe at the same venue.

‘It feels really good to be back’

“It’s the first time I am training with the team again, and it feels really good to be back. I have been out for 13 weeks without playing football and doing rehabilitation,” Van Wyk said in a statement on Wednesday.

“There are still a few areas I need to work on and get the injury out of my mind. But I am sure I will be ready in the next couple of days.”

‘A much tougher opponent than Zimbabwe’

Focusing on the challenge awaiting Banyana Banyana on Sunday, she added: “I cannot wait to take the field against Ghana, which I believe will be a much tougher opponent than Zimbabwe. They are more physical, but I think we can compete with them.

“The last time we faced the Black Queens, we were able to pip them through a penalty shootout and we are looking to do one better for the fans by defeating them within the allotted 90 minutes,” she concluded.

The Sasol-sponsored South African national women’s team is preparing for their forthcoming African Women’s Championship qualifying match against the Comoros at the end of the month, and coach Vera Pauw is impressed with the team’s performance thus far. She believes that the match against Ghana will assist in building a strong team.

‘I am impressed’

“Preparations are going well,” she said. “We have only had three training sessions together. We had the first explosive training session yesterday, to gain more power and after that we had game time. I am impressed by what I saw.”

Looking at lessons learnt in her charges’ last outing, Pauw said: “We have reviewed the previous match against Zimbabwe and feel that we made it easy for them. It was not the individual mistakes that were a concern, but the whole team lacked cohesion in the first 45 minutes.

“The match against Ghana could not have come at a better time as we look to intensify preparations ahead of the African Women’s Championship qualifiers against [the] Comoros,” she added.

Injury concern

Defender Letago Madiba, who plies her trade for Tshwane University of Technology in the Sasol League, remains the only injury concern for the team ahead of the match after sustaining a knee injury during training on Wednesday.

Sunday’s match kicks off at 15:00.

SAinfo reporter and South African Football Association