5 March 2019 – The SASOL-sponsored Banyana Banyana World Cup preparations remain well on track, as the team wraps up their participation in the 12th edition of the CYPRUS WOMEN’S CUP.

Whilst traditional pundits will look at the results, Head Coach Desiree Ellis and her technical team have used the tournament to continue along the path of preparing their charges for what is to expect at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, FRANCE 2019.

While winning always remains top of the agenda, the various preparation matches have always been seen as an ideal opportunity to provide for the gaining of experience and learning technically from the chosen opposition, which is regarded as key to preparations for their maiden FIFA Women’s World Cup, FRANCE 2019.

Ellis and her technical team had the opportunity to review almost every squad player that was selected for the CYPRUS WOMEN’S CUP 2019, which allows her to have a better idea of the combinations required for the various opposition due to be faced in FRANCE 2019.

The opposition that was chosen for the SASOL-sponsored Banyana Banyana World Cup preparations over the past 36 months ranged from European, to North and South American teams, and during the 2019 CYPRUS WOMEN’S CUP, finally included an Asian team – to complete the scope of different continental styles of play they will face in FRANCE.

The CYPRUS WOMEN’S CUP was also used to provide conditioning to the players in a tournament environment, with Ellis and her technical team largely adhering to squad numbers that they would be restricted to at the World Cup.

“Everyone goes into a tournament with the intention to win it, and so did we, but it was not to be – however, we also came here to prepare for the World Cup, and we got good competition from the teams we came up against. I am quite excited that we managed to achieve our objectives, which have made this a worthwhile exercise,” said Ellis.

The former Banyana Banyana captain continued to explain: “We were trying different players and different combinations, so that we also know what kind of back-up we have coming off the bench. Being this close to the World Cup, this was a very crucial exercise. Also, all but three players – goalkeeper Victoria Muroa, defender Noko Matlou and the injured Koketso Tlailane, have not yet played in the tournament. In short, we got to see almost every player in the squad in different situations – what more can you ask for?”

For Ellis, her technical team and the players looking to make a final impact for selection to the FIFA WORLD CUP France 2019, the preparations continue along the lines of competing against different continental styles when they face off against Jamaica on the 7th of April in Durban.

This will be the first ever meeting between the two nations, who are also preparing for their first World Cup tournament.

The international friendly clash doubles up as a farewell match for their loyal fans, and will also form part of the FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP TROPHY TOUR in South Africa.