Coach Desiree Ellis and her troops are favourites to win in their second group stage match,tomorrow, against Equatorial Guinea
Following their historic victory over Nigeria in their opener of the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (Awcon), Banyana Banyana captain Janine Van Wyk (pictured) has urged her teammates to remain humble and keep their eyes on the bigger picture – which is qualifying for the 2019 Fifa World Cup.
The Super Falcons have bossed Banyana in the last two continental showpieces; however, the latter finally got their revenge as Thembi Kgatlana’s solitary strike in the second half earned the South Africans their first three points in group B at Cape Coasts Sports Stadium on Sunday.
“We need to be humble in our successes and keep our feet on the ground because we still have a long way to go in terms of where we need to be,” Van Wyk said in the post-match interviews. “We are happy with beating Nigeria but the next two games in our group will be tough. Our bodies won’t be as fresh as they were against Nigeria, so we need to be smart and try to recover well.”
Banyana are in group B alongside Nigeria, Zambia and Equatorial Guinea.
Zambia opened their account on a high note as they hammered the Guineans 5-0 later in the day.
In 2012, the South Africans defeated Nigeria in the semi-finals 1-0, while the former avenged that loss by successive victories in 2014 (2-1) and 2016 (1-0).
Coach Desiree Ellis and her troops are favourites to win in their second group stage match,tomorrow, against Equatorial Guinea.
“They are also very difficult opponents,” Van Wyk said. “They are physical opponents and we’ve played them before but I think there are also new faces. After losing against Zambia, it will be a tough game for us because they’ll be looking for their first win. We need to be highly focused and ready for anything that comes our way.”
Zambia are also likely to pose danger to the South Africans. The two teams avoided each other in the recent Cosafa tournament – which Banyana eventually won. But the 31-year-old defender believes the Zambians have improved since September.
“We can’t underestimate any opponent that is here because Zambia has really grown and developed in football,” she said.
“They have quality players who are good going forward. We’ll prepare for them but right now we need to focus on our strengths and we’ll take each game it as it comes.”