Banyana defender Lebohang Ramalepe on Nigeria clash - It’s do or die

Banyana Banyana Lebohang Ramalepe challenged by Sofia Jakobson of Sweden in a friendly game that was played at Cape Town Stadium

Picture: Phando Jikelo/Independent Media

Published Apr 2, 2024


Banyana Banyana defender Lebohang Ramalepe said it’s vitally important to achieve a good result in their first-leg Paris Olympic qualifier against hosts Nigeria on Friday.

Banyana will take on hosts Nigeria on Friday, before the return leg on April 9 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. The winner on aggregate will qualify for the Paris Olympics in July and August.

The South Africans will also be without goalkeeper Andile Dlamini for the match.

As Ramalepe pointed out, both teams will be desperately wanting to make it to the quadrennial showpiece.

‘Tough game’

“To be honest, this is going to be a tough game. Remember, both teams didn’t qualify for the last Olympics. So, it’s a do-or-die!” Ramalepe said.

“But we are ready because we know how important the game is. It’s just a matter of going there and doing our best (on the day).”

Banyana landed in Abuja, Nigeria, on Sunday afternoon ahead of the first leg against the West Africans.

Banyana coach Desiree Ellis explained that the decision to travel early to Nigeria was intended to help the team acclimatise to the weather conditions in Abuja as they are vastly different from the conditions at home.

Ellis travelled with 17 players after a week of preparations in a local-based camp that took place from March 25 to 31 in Pretoria, South Africa.

Refiloe Jane, Noko Matlou and Jermaine Seoposenwe are the three overseas-based players who have joined up with the team in Abuja. Hildah Magaia, Thembi Kgatlana, Linda Mothlalo and Sinoxolo Cesane are yet to join up with the team.

The team had their first official training session on Monday afternoon and will continue with preparations until Thursday.

IOL Sport