Banyana Banyana are working hard at training preparing for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games that will be held in Brazil.

Banyana Banyana are working hard at training preparing for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games that will be held in Brazil.

Preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games are in full swing at the Nike Football Training Centre in Pimville, Soweto.

The South African Women’s Senior National team is holding regular training camps to ensure the players are ready when the tournament kicks off in August.

“We have fallen behind in terms of fitness if you compare to when we played against Equatorial Guinea in October last year. Our main priority is to keep the fitness levels up. I am glad we are back early in the year so we can get those levels to the highest intensity and to grow even further so we can be fitter and stronger and be able to compete,” said Banyana Banyana head coach Vera Pauw.

On Tuesday, the players underwent tests conducted by the University of Pretoria.

“We are conducting these tests, which will be regular, so we can ensure that we keep track and monitor the recovery rate of the players so that we know how much work load we need to put.”

“When you don’t recover well, it affects your performance. So it is crucial that we get it right,” added Pauw.

On the playing personnel, goalkeeper Roxanne Barker has left her Iceland club to focus her attention on the preparations for the Olympics. The training programme is jam-packed and will require players to be available all the time.

“It’s nice to see such commitment and players willing to sacrifice so much to be part of the final squad. We have others who have taken leave at work and school and it gives one pleasure to see so much enthusiasm from the players. Many know that this is a once-in-a-life time opportunity,” said the coach.

Meanwhile midfielder Amanda Dlamini has missed the two camps in the new year due to family commitments.

“We would have loved her to be here with us but in this case, family comes first. We have given her a training programme that she is following so she can be active and is not left behind too much. But obviously, we would love her to be with us so that she is on par with the other players. She can only do that once she is ready, and we understand her situation.” concluded Pauw.

Banyana Banyana will break from camp on Friday, 29 January and return on Monday, 1 February.

NB: Only 18 (eighteen) players will be registered to play for the tournament. An additional 4 (four) will be accredited but will only feature in the competition if there is an injury to any of the 18. The four will travel, stay and train with the team during the tournament.