Banyana Banyana have safely arrived in South Africa from Kenya where they defeated the home side 1-0 to move to the fourth and final round of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games qualifiers.

Banyana Banyana have safely arrived in South Africa from Kenya where they defeated the home side 1-0 to move to the fourth and final round of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games qualifiers.

Lying in wait is Equatorial Guinea who beat Nigeria 2-1 in extra time in Malabo (on Sunday, 2 August) to set up a meeting with Banyana Banyana following a 3-2 aggregate win after the first leg ended 1-all in Abuja.

South Africa managed a 2-0 aggregate victory after they won 1-0 in the first leg at the Dobsonville Stadium two weeks ago.

Second half substitute Rhoda Mulaudzi scored for Banyana Banyana in Machakos, Kenya in the 24th minute on Sunday, 2 August.

SAFA Media spoke to Banyana Banyana captain Janine van Wyk shortly before their departure for South Africa.

Matlhomola Morake: Janine it must be pleasing to come all the way to Kenya and beat them in their backyard?

Janine van Wyk: Yes I am really pleased with the result that we got. The girls fought really hard, and we knew it was going to be a tough encounter against Kenya. They threw everything at us but I am happy we were able to score in the first half and that is exactly what our game plan was – to get an early goal to settle the nerves. It was a good performance overall.

MM: And we could have scored more….

JvW: Yes definitely, we had a few chances to put them away but with nerves that made us not settle you are bound to miss goals. Luckily we kept them out, the defence really held firm and the goalkeeper Roxanne was phenomenal in goals. Things went our way and we are looking to the next task ahead and hopefully prepare well again to go with the advantage of being on top of our game.

MM: The win also showed the character of the players under trying circumstances…

JvW: Absolutely, we knew it was going to be hard. And we knew that we needed to do it for ourselves, our country and women’s football in general. We had a meeting as players and reminded each other just how important this game really was to us. We want to get to the Olympics after missing out on the FIFA World Cup so we are really hungry to get there, and we told each other we will do everything we can to get there.

The result shows how we fought on the field even though we could have played much better football but it doesn’t always have to be beautiful to get a positive result or win a game. We know there are a few things we need to work on, especially being clinical in front of goals and to play our kind of football. Against Kenya we just kicked the ball forward and hoped for the best, which is not our style. People know us to put the ball on the ground and make it move, but we got a result that we wanted and that’s all that matters for today.

MM: Two matches away from Rio, standing in our way is Equatorial Guinea which beat Nigeria…

JvW: Yes, we were following that match because they played after our game against Kenya. We knew that either team that was going to win – Nigeria or Equatorial Guinea – will be a tough one because they are top dogs of African football, and we know all about them.

We have played them both, Equatorial Guinea I think we beat once and they come out to give their best. They are a powerful team and we know what to expect from them so we have to prepare ourselves in a way that we can capitalize on their weaknesses and get a good result and that comes with good preparation. I know that with the kind of experienced coach that we have we will be ready to face them.

MM: There is always talk that South Africa – men or women – can’t beat Nigeria in competitive football. Now that we have Equatorial Guinea do you think there is now a belief that Banyana Banyana could repeat the feat of qualifying for back-to-back Olympics?

JvW: I said to my teammates that I wanted Nigeria, deep down I wanted to meet them because I think this team is ready to face them and beat them, but now we have to face Equatorial Guinea and we know how tough they can be. Physically they are strong and they have very players and I do believe we stand a good chance of going to Brazil. If we play as a unit, fight together I don’t see us falling in this last hurdle. Also, as I said we have a good coach who knows how to plan, and it will be her first encounter against Equatorial Guinea since she took over Banyana Banyana and I am certain she will help the team prepare well to take on this huge assignment. But I have a strong belief that we can make it.