JOHANNESBURG – Although Banyana Banyana are high on confidence after bagging the win against Nigeria in their Africa Cup of Nations opener, skipper Janine Van Wyk anticipates a tough clash against wounded Equatorial Guinea at Cape Coasts Sports Stadium, tomorrow night.
On Sunday, Thembi Kgatlana scored the solitary goal that recorded Banyana’s second victory over the Super Falcons in 11 meetings. Two hours later Equatorial Guinea, reinstated into the tournament just last week, were hammered 5-0 by Zambia.
“They are physical opponents and we’ve played them before but I think there are also new faces," Van Wyk said. "We need to be highly focused and ready”
While getting three points in tomorrow’s encounter will pull Banyana closer to the semi-finals, Van Wyk indicated they are targeting a whitewash in group B. However with Zambia's big win, Banyana's task will not be an easy one.
In order to be safe, the 31-year-old defender says they have to be intact defensively to stop Zambia’s potent attack.
“They have quality players, that are good going forward. We’ll prepare for them but right now we need to focus on our strengths and take each game as it comes.”
In the last two editions of the continental showpiece, Banyana lost in the semi-finals to the Super Falcons. Although they might have bounced back from that record through Sunday’s win, Van Wyk has pleaded with her teammates to keep their feet firmly on the ground - as they have four more games to win if they are to qualify for the World Cup.
Having finally overcome the Super Falcons, and doing so a day after Bafana Bafana drew 1-1 with the Super Eagles in the Afcon qualifiers, there is a danger that Banyana might get big-headed.
“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. We need to try to recover well.”@Mihlalibaleka
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