Banyana set for extended camp ahead of Women’s World Cup in France
Games are lined up but the team also face long stretches of inactivity which would hamper their prospects in the global soccer showpiece
Banyana Banyana could go into a full-time camp from as early as April 1 in order to best prepare for the Women’s World Cup in France in mid-year‚ officials said on Monday.
Without a regular league‚ the women’s national team players have little prospect of maintaining their match fitness in the months leading up to the tournament and in order to make sure they are in proper physical shape for the World Cup‚ they will go into camp for almost three months before the the tournament kicks off.
Banyana make their maiden World Cup appearance against Spain in Le Havre on June 8 and then meet China in Paris five days later and finish their Group B commitments against former world champions Germany.
Preparations already began in January with friendlies in Cape Town against the Netherlands and Sweden‚ who are also going to the World Cup.
Later in February‚ Desiree Ellis’s side are going to the Cyprus Cup‚ where they are in the same group as the Czech Republic‚ Finland and North Korea.
They play Finland on February 27‚ North Korea on March 1 and the Czech Republic on March 4. They will have one more game on March 6‚ playing for one of 12 places‚ depending on how they do in their group.
Banyana have also been invited to the US for a friendly against the pre-tournament favourites. It will be played in Santa Clara‚ near San Francisco‚ on May 12.
But there are huge gaps of inactivity that has led to plans for a camp. SA Football Association officials are now looking at the economics of having the squad in full time residence and where they will host this camp.
Priority for coach Ellis will be regular matches to keep the team fit.