20 March 2014
Banyana Banyana captain Janine van Wyk is optimistic about the team’s future under new coach Vera Pauw, who was appointed to the post last week.
The 51-year-old Pauw worked as the Technical Director of the Russian Football Union and was the country’s interim coach in 2011. Before that, she was Netherlands’ Technical Director and women’s national team coach from 2004 to 2010, and led the country to a bronze medal in the European Championships in Finland in 2009.
Between 1998 and 2004, Pauw was the Technical Director for the national women’s football team in Scotland.
Speaking ahead of a training camp at the University of Pretoria’s High Performance Centre on Wednesday, Van Wyk said: “I’m excited to be reporting for camp and looking forward to the next five days with a new coach and some new faces in the squad.
“We’ve been given a new coach who is highly experienced. We obviously expect new changes, a new style of play and this is a challenge we should look forward to as a team.
“Our goal is to work hard towards impressing her as she looks to finalise the squad for the qualifiers and eventually the African Women’s Championship tournament. I know she’s seen me play in the past, but I can’t rely on my past experience as we know no place is guaranteed in the national team. We all need to work hard for a spot in the team.”
When her appointment was announced, Pauw commented: “I am excited to become part of this ambitious project in which we can develop our girls into international stars.
“Safa is aiming high with women’s football. President (Danny) Jordaan has expressed this in his New Year message because women’s football is the fastest growing sport in the world. There are plenty of opportunities in which we can use football to enhance the future of women in general,” said Pauw.
“South Africa has massive potential in development structures and I am looking forward to this new challenge of taking Banyana Banyana to the next level,” she added.
Banyana Banyana next face Namibia on 26 March before taking on the Comoros in the first leg of the final round of qualifiers for the African Women’s Championship on 23 May. The second leg takes place on 6 June.
At the last African Women’s Championship, held in Equatorial Guinea in 2012, South Africa finished as runners-up to the hosts after defeating their long-time nemesis, Nigeria, in the semi-finals.