Banyana Banyana took time off their hectic schedule on Thursday to visit Jabulani Mall in Soweto to meet their fans, signing autographs and taking photos with them.

Banyana Banyana took time off their hectic schedule on Thursday to visit Jabulani Mall in Soweto to meet their fans, signing autographs and taking photos with them.

The South African Women’s Senior National Team is in camp to prepare for the clash against Botswana in the second leg of the All Africa Games qualifiers.

The match will take place at the Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday, 11 April 2015. Kickoff is at 14h00.

The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana lead 1-0 from the first leg, which was held at the Molepolole Stadium in Botswana.

The 2015 All Africa Games will be held in Congo Brazzaville from 03 – 18 September.

SAFA Media spoke to Banyana Banyana captain Janine Van Wyk about the mall visit and the upcoming clash with Botswana.

Matlhomola Morake: How was the visit?

Janine Van Wyk: It was a good visit. It was lovely to see so many fans of Banyana Banyana. A few years ago there were not so many people who knew about us, but thanks to SAFA and Sasol for being on our side and promoting the women’s game, and now today we see so many fans coming out in numbers. It would also be great to see a lot of them at the stadium to give us support for our clash with Botswana. But it was a great outing. We really enjoyed ourselves.

MM: Must also be pleasing to the players also to see such happening…

JVW: Yes, and I always tell the players to be as humble as possible because these are the people that support us and we need to also show our appreciation by being friendly and meeting these fans. It’s also important for the team to see how many people out there support us. I am almost certain the girls enjoyed today and hopefully there will be more visits like these so we can have time with our fans around the country.

MM: And as you said it would be great that they come in large numbers on Saturday…

JVW: It will be very important for us to have that support on Saturday, and what is encouraging is that every single person we spoke to today said they will be coming to the stadium and that is exactly what we need, it’s the kind of thing that motivates us as players when we are on the field fighting for our nation. And if they can really come it will give us a big boost and hopefully we can make them proud and come up with a positive result on Saturday.

MM: Speaking of Saturday, what do you think of Botswana?

JVW: Botswana is a team that is very prepared for the All Africa Games qualifiers. Many people are asking how did we beat them by so many goals last year, but now we won only 1-0 just the other day – well they are much fitter and stronger compared to last year, they are looking to qualify just as much as we are. So I think it is going to be a tough encounter on Saturday. They didn’t make it very easy for us when we played them in Botswana, they broke our momentum constantly when we were going forward.

Also we didn’t have much preparation time going into the match but this time we have a little more time to spend together and we already know it is not going to be a walk in the park, they will come at us strongly and perhaps use the same tactics as they used in Botswana. We just have to concentrate on our game and make use of the chances we get in front of goals, which is one thing that is still lacking but we are working on it.

MM: Preparations in the first leg not very ideal but things are looking up now?

JVW: Thankfully we have started well with our preparations for the second leg, and the team is looking very well. Fortunately there are also no injuries so far. We are just hoping for a good performance, which will lead to a good win on Saturday. There is a lot of confidence in the team that we will come out on top.

NB: The Banyana Banyana vs Botswana qualifier is part of a double header. In the other match the South African U23 National Team will play Sudan in the return leg of the same All Africa Games qualifiers. South Africa lost the first leg 2-0 in Sudan. Kickoff is at 16h00.