After months of preparations, the South African Women’s Olympic Team get to show what they have been up to when they face their biggest test in the opening match of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

After months of preparations, the South African Women’s Olympic Team get to show what they have been up to when they face their biggest test in the opening match of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Banyana Banyana will lock horns with Sweden later today (Wednesday, 3 August 2016) at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Kickoff is scheduled for 18h00 South African time (13h00 local time).

The South Africans started their training camp in November 2015 and played against teams like Cameroon, The Netherlands, USA and New Zealand in preparation for the Games.

After months of waiting, the time has finally arrived.

“We are ready, we can’t wait for the game. I believe we have done everything we can possibly do to get ready. I want to remind everybody that we are 52nd on the world rankings so the expectations should not be that we are going to win against Sweden, but we will do the best we can to get a victory. The key though is that we should not play as cowards and should have no fear. If we play as a unit, as one team, we stand a good chance of winning but if we don’t work as a team it will be very difficult for us,” said Pauw.

Banyana Banyana will be the first South African team in action at the 2016 Olympics but Pauw is not bothered by that.

“I really I don’t have that in my head. The bottom line is that it is a major tournament, it is the first match after a huge preparation and we have to show it now. We have to show South Africa where we are going – if we can say we are proud after the game, if we have given our all but was just not good enough then we have to accept that, but we will be disappointed of course. On the other hand, we could also have a super day and could do something very positive,” added the Banyana Banyana mentor.

“In one Dutch newspaper they said I was the first Dutch in action at these Olympics, but I don’t feel it all because it doesn’t matter when you start – your first game is your first game and is not related to anything else. All we have to do is show the absolute will to win, that is what people can expect from us. They should also expect us to do everyting in our power to be victorious. Having said that, a good start is very crucial in the tournament, and let’s see how we start and where it will lead us.”

South Africa also faced Sweden in their opening match of the 2012 London Olympics Games – a match Banyana Banyana lost 4-1.

Pauw has an injury concern with forward Linda Motlhalo doubtful after missing two days of training.

In the other group match, hosts Brazil will open their campaign with a clash against China at the same venue.

Meanwhile the Men’s Olympic Team has wished Banyana Banyana well against Sweden.

““As the Men’s Olympic Team, we would like to take this opportunity to wish Banyana Banyana all the luck in their all-important clash against Sweden.We know that they have put in a lot of hard work, we know that they have quality in their technical team as well as in the players so we have all the hope in them that they will do well. We are sure that they are going to make people’s head turn and take notice,” said Owen da Gama, head coach of the Men’s Olympic Team.

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