Banyana set for high-profile friendly against world 11th-ranked Japan
JOHANNESBURG – Banyana Banyana will face former world champions Japan in an international friendly on Sunday, November 10, at the Kitakyushu Stadium in Fukuoka, Japan.
As hosts of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the Asians have automatically qualified for the tournament and they are using this match to get ready.
“We are excited to be playing this match because Japan is one of the powerhouses in women’s football,” said Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis. “I am confident this is going to be a great spectacle and we are looking forward to it.”
This will be the second-ever meeting between the two nations and Ellis knows all too well the Japanese are a formidable side.
The previous encounter was at the London Olympic Games in July 2012 in the group stages, and it ended in a goalless draw at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff.
Some of the players from the current squad who were at that match include Robyn Moodaly, Nothando Vilakazi, Janine van Wyk, Leandra Smeda, Noko Matlou and Refiloe Jane.
“Japan are further ahead than us in their development, so it will be a huge test for us. They run non-stop and that means we have to be in good physical shape and stay fully concentrated for the duration of the game. Technically and tactically, Japan are effective and do the simple things well.”
Japan are ranked 11th in the world, with Banyana at 49.
African News Agency (ANA)