Banyana Banyana during a training session in California. Photo: @Banyana_Banyana via Twitter

CALIFORNIA – Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana arrived in Santa Clara, California, USA, on Wednesday after a 31-hour flight that included a 10-hour stopover in New York.

Banyana Banyana face the host nation USA in an international friendly match scheduled for Sunday at the Levi Stadium.

Both sides are using this encounter to prepare for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will be played in France from 7 June and 7 July.

SA coach Desiree Ellis has selected a squad of 23 players that includes Spain-based Ode Fuludutilu, Nomvula Kgoale who is based in the USA as well as Nothando Vilakazi who plies her trade in Lithuania – the trio met up with the squad in the USA.

“It was indeed a long journey, and after a good night’s rest we are getting down to business because we know the task at hand. We are playing a well-polished team in the form of the USA and we need to be at our best as this is our penultimate match before we start the World Cup tournament,” said Banyana Banyana captain Janine van Wyk.

“The good thing about the long and heavy travel is that it is preparing for the rigorous experience that we will be facing in France – even though it will not be at this scale – but it is just a taste of what is to come, and we are glad we went through it.”

Just after the USA fixture, Banyana Banyana have secured another friendly against Norway to conclude their preparations.

This first-ever meeting between the two nations will take place on Sunday, 2 June, at Stade Moulonguet in Amiens, France.

Norway has been to seven FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments in a row, and France 2019 will be their 8th appearance.

South Africa has been drawn against Spain, China PR and Germany. 

African News Agency (ANA)