23 January 2018 – Captain of the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana, Janine van Wyk, is proud of her teammates even though they did not get the desired result against Sweden.

The South African Senior Women’s National Team lost 3-0 in an international friendly match played at the Cape Town Stadium on Sunday (21 January).

“I need to give credit to every player that was on the field, those on the bench, the technical team for the hard they put in today. Obviously it showed today how much of a character this team has by playing with heart. In the game it happens when you score an own goal and you are on the back foot very early on, but it’s part of the game and it’s also part of us growing up as a team that we will have setbacks like those,” said Van Wyk.

Van Wyk and teammates gave everything on the field, and also put their bodies on the line but in the end the Swedes were just clinical in front of goal, while South Africa missed clear chances that could have perhaps changed the result.

“It was very tough and we knew from the start that it was going to be like that, that Sweden will have a physical presence over us but we competed very well. I am really happy with the team’s performance, we really put up a good fight and a good show. There were some moments where I believe we were better than Sweden, and make no mistake, they are a world-class team. They organise themselves much quicker than we do,” added Van Wyk.

The South Africans were a goal down after just 10 minute following an own goal by defender Bambanani Mbane.

Sweden got the second goal through second half substitute Loretta Kullashi just two minutes after the half time break. She got her second and Sweden’s third in the 69th minute.

“We had three good chances in the first half when I thought we should have put the ball in the back of the net – and had we done that once, the result would not have been three, because when you score it gives you and the team a lot of confidence going forward. This performance is a step in the right direction for us. The coaches have been working hard with us throughout the week and we can happily say we did a good job today despite the 3-0 defeat. There are obviously things that we need to work going forward,” said Van Wyk.

This was Banyana Banyana’s first match of 2018 – they last played a competitive match in October when they faced Burkina Faso.

The clash against Sweden was also the South African Senior Women’s National Team debut in Cape Town, and Van Wyk has thanked the fans for the support.

“It was an amazing atmosphere, seeing people come in numbers to support women’s football. It’s was a great feeling just hearing the stadium roar, hopefully we do come back here because it is one of the best games I have played to date. The crowd still got behind us even when we were 3-0 down, so it was awesome to see everyone support us,” said the Banyana Banyana captain.

“On the streets people stopped us just to greet and take photos with us, and that makes you feel like a professional footballer. So it’s really good that it is getting to that stage where people are starting to take women’s football seriously in our country. It was a phenomenal crowd at the Cape Town Stadium and perhaps one of the best crowds we have had for Banyana Banyana, which makes us want to come back to Cape Town. But I am really happy, and thanks for the support.

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