Now that the Olympic Games group stages draw has been done, South African and Zimbabwean women’s national team will be the two Southern African teams presenting Africa in the women’s football tournament in Rio 2016.
The Olympic draw took place on Thursday, 15h00 local time at the iconic Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. The draw has proven that it will be a stern test for these two African teams, as Banyana Banyana and the Mighty Warriors will go head-to-head with teams that are ranked a lot higher than them and have plenty of experience on the international stage behind them. According to the latest FIFA women’s football world rankings, SA (54) and Zim (95).
Group E: Brazil, Sweden, China PR and South Africa.
Group F: Canada, Australia, Zimbabwe and Germany.
Group G: USA, New Zealand, France and Colombia.
The Sasol sponsored team will play Sweden in their opening match, but Banyana and Sweden are no strangers, as they have played each other in group stages at 2012 London Olympics. The game was won by Sweden 4-1.
Coach Vera Pauw said: “This is as fantastic draw because the truth every draw is tough we knew coming here we could draw anyone. We are excited; these are very strong teams and we will do everything in our power to ensure our preparations are thorough.
“What is also good is that we will be staying in Rio and only move when we play the hosts in Manaus. The good thing about this tournament is that it will give our girls the exposure they need and also increase their profiles. The pressure is mainly on Brazil to perform in front of their fans and we just have to focus on what we have to do, added Pauw. “
The Southern African neighbours have both qualified for two major tournaments in 2016, the African Women’s Cup of Nations and Olympics Games. The AWCON tournament will take place later on this year, in Cameroon from 19 November to 3 December 2016.