18 July 2023 – The South African senior women’s team had their first open training session in New Zealand where they were visited by young fans from different schools in Wellington.
Glen view Primary School, Whitby Collegiate, Postage Primary, Maraeroa Primary, Whitford Brown Specialists Centre, Tiarangi Primary, Pautahanui Primary) chanted “Banyana Banyana” as they watched the team train on Monday afternoon.
The team was officially also handed over to FIFA on Tuesday, 18 July 2023 as the tournament draws closer to kick off. Coach Desiree Ellis’ charges will, however, only start their tournament a few days after the kick off date when they lock horns with Sweden on 23 July 2023 at the Wellington Regional Stadium (Kickoff 07:00am RSA time).
The last time the two nations met was back in January 2019 in an international friendly that ended in a goalless draw. There is no doubt that there will be scores to settle in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Group G with both nations hoping to kick-start the tournament with a victory and gain some control of the group.
Sweden is currently ranked at Number 3 in the world while South Africa is at 54 in the latest FIFA rankings. The Europeans have the upper hand having won the friendly tie 3-0 back in January 2018.
Sweden and Banyana Banyana attended a joint welcoming event in New Zealand upon arrival and shared a few sportsmanship moments of songs and culture. But on Sunday 23 July 2023 it will be war on the field of play when they meetin the opening match.