13 June 2019 – Banyana Banyana face China in their second match of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup currently underway in France.

The two nations meet tonight (Thursday, 13 June) at Parc des Princes in Paris.

Kickoff is at 21h00.

This will be the second time the two countries go toe to toe – the last time they met things did not go well for South Africa as they lost 2-0 in a Rio 2016 Olympic group stage match played at Estadio Olyimpico Joao Havelange in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“Back then some of us were still young and did not have the correct technique but we have grown over the last few years and have become even more competitive,” said forward Thembi Kgatlana.

“We have come to a point where teams still have doubts when they have to play us because they can’t figure us out, so what we need to do is to use that to our advantage. A case in point is the Spain match where we should have buried a couple of chances that came our way and we got punished in the end. We need to be clinical and make sure when we score early we put some distance between the opponents and us. But the most important thing is to get a win.”

Of the 20 players that were selected by then head coach Vera Pauw, with current coach Desiree Ellis as her assistant, only 12 made it to the World Cup squad.

Those who were in the starting line-up in that game re Lebohang Ramalepe, Nothando Vilakazi, Noko Matlou, Janine van Wyk (who was also captain in that match) Mamello Makhabane, Linda Motlhalo, Refiloe Jane, Jermaine Seoposenwe and Thembi Kgatlana.

On the bench were Bambanani Mbane, Andile Dlamini and Leandra Smeda.

Completing the rest of the squad was Roxanne Barker, Stephanie Malherbe, Robyn Moodaly, Amanda Dlamini, Shiwe Nogwanya, Sanah Mollo and Nompumelelo Nyandeni.

China is currently ranked 15thin the world, fifth in Asia.

They hosted the first Women’s World Cup in 1991, with a best World Cup performance being runners up in 1999.

South Africa on the other hand is in position 49 in the world and making their debut in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Both sides lost their opening matches – Banyana Banyana losing 3-1 to Spain while China suffered a 1-0 loss to Germany – and will be looking to bounce back.

“This is our final before the final, our do or die match. We know that to stand a chance of making it to the next round, this is one game that will decide that, so a loss is out of the question and we will not even entertain a draw. I am confident that after we have shrugged off the nerves of the first game, the players will do what they have to do to get the much-required victory. Two matches left in the group stages, which means two good chances to make up for the loss in the first game,” said Ellis.

Banyana Banyana travel to Montpellier on Friday, 14 June for their last group stages match against Germany, which will take place on Monday, 17 June at 18h00.