14 July 2023 – South African senior women’s team captain Refiloe Jane believes that the international friendly against Costa Rica on Saturday (15 July 2023) will not only be focused on the result, but also on the overall performance of the team as they seek to improve confidence ahead of their FIFA Women’s World Cup opener against Sweden.
The Sasol-sponsored side arrived in New Zealand in the beginning of the month and they have spent close to a week in Wellington, which will be their base camp for the duration of the group stages.
With the encounter being Costa Rica’s home game, coach Desiree’s Ellis’ charges travelled to Christchurch on Friday morning and trained at the same venue where they will lock horns with the Central American side.
“The preparations have been going well and the team spirit is there, everyone is gelling well with each other and the overall training camp has gone well from South Africa to New Zealand. We have acclimatized and adjusted in New Zealand…. we have settled,” Jane told www.www.safa.net after the team’s Match-Day Minus One training session.
“The match against Costa Rica is a step up to the preparation for our game against Sweden because they play more or less a similar style of football. So we are preparing for the bigger stage [the start of the World Cup], but not losing focus on this friendly.
“It is going to be important to get a good result for our confidence, but it will also be more important for crossing t’s and dotting the i’s because it is the last preparation game before the World Cup. So I think whether we win or not, the performance will be important.”
The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will officially kick off on 20 July 2023 and Ellis’ charges face Sweden three days later in their opening group game.
Sasol Senior Manager for Group Brand and Sponsorships, Nozipho Mbatha, shared her excitement ahead of match againstCosta Rica. “We are looking forward to the final international friendly game between Banyana Banyana and Costa Rica in preparation for the soon to kick off 2023 Women’s World Cup,” she said.
“We urge our African Champions to stay grounded, and remain focused on the task at hand. Banyana Banyana previously demonstrated that hard work and dedication equals success, and itis against this background that we know the team will do well. We appreciate all South Africans who continue to show their unwavering support for the team.”