29 August 2019 – Banyana Banyana captain Refiloe Jane says the away result against Botswana in the first leg of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be crucial to their campaign of making it three out of three qualifications for the Games in a row.
South Africa was at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and have a chance of going to Tokyo – but their first assignment is to go past their neighbours in a two-legged second round.
Jane says several factors are working in their favour, but they still have to work hard to achieve a good result.
“The preparations we had from the 2019 COSAFA Women’s Championship early this month in Port Elizabeth, which we won, are still in tact so it is just a matter of continuing from where we left off. To add on to that is the return of the overseas-based, which is a major boost,” said Jane.
“We are playing Botswana in their backyard, which means it will not be an easy match, so we have to go there prepared and make sure we get a favourable results that we can take back home for the second leg – any indifferent result will put us on the back foot when we meet on Tuesday (3 September).”
South Africa will host Botswana at the iconic Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
Kickoff is at 19h00.
Entry is free.
Banyana Banyana last played at the venue in 2011 against Ethiopia – it was the first leg of the London 2012 Olympic qualifiers, and Jane has called on the fans to come in numbers to show support.
“The more the merrier, and we always appreciate their support. We are going to back to Orlando Stadium for the first time in eight years, and we want to make it a memorable occasion more so because it is a crucial match. We urge the fans to come out in numbers to watch us as we attempt to make it three out of three for the Olympic games,” added Jane.
“We always appreciate their support, and playing at Orlando is going to be a massive game for us. We promise to give the fans a good and entertaining game, but most importantly the results they want to see from Banyana Banyana.
Jane was not in the squad that played at Orlando Stadium under Joseph Mkhonza, and a player born in Soweto, she says this is a dream come true.
“I am very excited and privileged to be playing in Soweto, my hometown, more so when you consider that I was not part of the team that played in the first match there against Ethiopia. Most of the players in the current squad haven’t played there, so it is a massive game for all us, so we are all looking forward to showcase our talent at this iconic venue,” said Jane.
“Playing there is a dream come true for most of us. We have to thank SAFA and our sponsor Sasol for making it happen – and this comes at a time when we have broken new ground by playing in venues previously not linked with Banyana Banyana – like the Cape Town Stadium, Moses Mabhida Stadium and now Orlando Stadium. This is all so unreal.”
Banyana Banyana return from Botswana on Saturday, 31 August and will continue with preparations for the second leg.