The South African Senior Women’s National Team (Banyana Banyana), will face their counterparts from France in an international friendly match scheduled for Saint-Denis in Reunion Islands.

The clash will take place on Sunday, 22 January, and will be the first game of 2017 for both sides.

Kickoff is at 21h00 local time (19h00 SA time).

This will be the second meeting between the two nations. The last time they locked horns was back in 2009 and the Europeans won 3-2.

The French National Team is ranked 3rd in the world and 2nd in EUFA behind Germany, while South Africa is ranked 4th on the continent and 48th in the world.

The match adds to a growing list of top countries the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana has faced. They played the USA, Netherlands and New Zealand in international friendly matches, then followed up with tough fixtures at the Olympics Games – Brazil, Sweden and China.

“It is an absolute pleasure to have secured such a high profile team to face our Women’s National Team. We have said many times before that for our football to improve, we need to play top teams, and we all know France are no pushovers,” said SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan.

“We have seen in the past when Banyana Banyana took on the likes of USA, Sweden and Brazil they held their own, and we are confident that this time around they will do so and get a favourable result. It has been proven that the more you play against strong opposition, the better you will become.”

Interim head coach of Banyana Banyana Desiree Ellis was excited at the news.

“These are very exciting times for South African football. We recently played the Netherlands, USA as well as Sweden, China and Brazil in Rio and Now France, you can’t for more than this. They have very exciting players and they will surely give us a very good test. I am looking forward to the match and I am glad we have been given another chance to showcase our strength against one of the big footballing nations,” said Ellis.

Banyana Banyana’s last match was at the end of November at the 2016 CAF African Women’s Cup of Nation in Cameroon, where they finished fourth.

In their last six matches, France have won three times – against New Zealand, Albania and Spain, with losses coming from the USA and Canada and a draw against Brazil.

The French team was at both the London Olympic Games as well as the Rio Olympic Games – they finished 4th and in the quarterfinals respectively.

Banyana Banyana is expected to fly out to Reunion Islands on Thursday, 19 January and return on Monday, 23 January.