27 February 2018 – The South African women’s national team will participate in the Cyprus Cup over the next couple of weeks in the hope of not only impressing on the international stage but also gaining vital experience.

The Cyprus Cup is a global invitational tournament for national teams. It has been held annually in Cyprus since 2008 and has grown from strength to strength. Strangely enough, the hosts are yet to participate in the event.

There will a total of twelve nations competing in the cup. Group A: Finland, Italy, Switzerland, Wales. Group B: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Spain. Group C: Hungary, Slovakia, Korea DPR, South Africa.

The current champions are Switzerland and the most successful teams are England and Canada with three titles each. Banyana have competed five times previously with 2009 bringing their best finish yet – a sixth place finish.

The team will be looking to hone their skills and talents against tough opponents. The South African Football Association’s (SAFA) President, Dr Danny Jordaan stated: “Banyana Banyana have a busy 2018 all around and we expect that the Cyprus Cup will play a vital role in this crucial year that has already been kick-started with a wonderful friendly international against Sweden in Cape Town last year”.

The team will be based in the city of Paralimni and will play all three of their matches at the Tasos Markos Stadium. Pitting themselves against teams such as Slovakia, Hungary as well as Trinidad & Tobago.

The team’s prestigious 2017 CAF Women’s Team of the Year award will no doubt give them the necessary confidence required to take on this challenge.  With key AFCON qualifiers to come, such a tournament will provide proper preparation for the squad and allow Desiree Ellis to blood youngsters and build up a healthy pool of talent with the future in mind.

Judging the team’s recent successes, I have no doubt that these talented females will embrace the challenge, take responsibility, wear their hearts on their sleeves and do the nation proud. Good luck to the coach, squad and support staff.

By: Dhirshan Gobind

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