9 November 2019 – Banyana Banyana take to the field against Japan in Fukuoka on Sunday, 10 November as rank outsiders but captain Refiloe Jane says they would take a leaf off the World Cup winning Springboks to keep the renowned South African fighting spirit alive.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference at Kitakyushu, the AC Milan ladies team star said the Springboks had shown, with will and determination, nothing is impossible.
“We last played Japan at the London Olympics in 2012 where we drew but a lot has happened between the two teams since then,” said Jane. “Good thing is wherever we go, people remind us of the Springboks and we are happy with what they did for the country. They used the sport to unite a country and it is now up to us to pick up from where they left off.”
Jane said sport was one vehicle which South Africa have successfully used to join hands and the match against Japan would not be just another friendly encounter.
“We want to use it to measure how far we have progressed as a nation and to also bring people together. We have had a lot of challenges as a country and if we do well, we bring hope to the rank and file,” she added.
Coach Desiree Ellis said this team (Banyana Banyana) had lots of quality but their biggest strength has always been team work.
“We have great players like Jane who plays overseas, Leandra Smeda, Thembi Kgatlana and Linda Mothlalo, one of the up and coming stars within our ranks. We will count on their experience to lead the team but as I said earlier, we work as a team and that is what Japan must expect in tomorrow’s match.”
Banyana Banyana take on the Far East opponents in Fukuoka in a match that kicks off at 05h45 SA time but will be broadcast on SABC at 15h00 on Sunday afternoon.
They will play a non-official practice match at the same venue on Monday before returning home on Tuesday and lands at OR Tambo Airport on Wednesday morning.