When the Banyana Banyana of South Africa step unto the greens of the iconic Estádio do Maracanã to launch their second Olympics appearance, it would be a dream come true for Jermaine Seoposenwe who would be making her debut alongside seven others.
With four goals in a home and away tie against Gabon and the decisive “soccer” punch on Equatorial Guinea, 22-year-old Seoposenwe emerged joint highest goal scorer during Africa’s Olympic qualifying campaign as testament to her key role up front in coach Vera Pauw’s set up.
Although it is not much of a significance to Jermaine that she now wears the squad’s no 12 jersey in which the Legendary Portia Modise earned 124 caps, became the first African player to amass 100 international goals and even scored Banyana Banyana’s only Olympic goal till date, but she sure is gradually fitting into it nicely.
For Seoposenwe and her teammates, it’s been eight long months of training their hearts out and playing high profile international friendly matches in preparation for Rio, and now that the tournament is finally here, the Samford University women’s soccer player is “pretty excited” especially when she considers that injury had ruled her out of the Banyana Banyana squad to London 2012.
“Our performance against the US has changed my perspective on the Olympics and it has made me much more optimistic of how well we are going to do playing against these big teams that are in the top 20.
“I feel like our performance against the US made people alert to us and made them realize that we are all good enough and that we can play. So I’m excited to go there and prove not just myself, my teammates are all excited to go and prove themselves on the biggest stage in the world and so there is just so much optimism and belief that we can do well and get out of the group stage.” Seoposenwe told LadiesMarch.
It was indeed a gallant 1-0 loss for South Africa in their first ever encounter with the No. 1 ranked team in the world, who are also the most successful team in the Women’s football event of the Olympic Games having won the gold medal four times, with eyes resting on a fifth.
Before the match against the USA, was a double date with the Netherlands in which they suffered a double loss and Jermaine has said that was an eye opener.
“What we lacked I think was the continuous focus through out the game. Whenever we lost concentration a goal is scored against us. I think if we stay more focused and don’t concede, then we can become more decisive in front of goal and score.” she explained.
It is however still surprising how they let New Zealand beat them soundly 4-1 in their final warm up game. Hence the need for Jermaine to go clear her head, you see…
ADVANTAGE, SOUTH AFRICA?
In spite of the friendly losses against teams outside the continent, one cannot deny that Banyana Banyana have prepared well enough for the Olympic Games.
However, in a group parading Sweden, Brazil and China, Jermaine Seoposenwe has admitted it would be tough but believes they have got the advantage.
“All of them are in the top 20. But I feel that it’s more of an advantage to us, South Africa because we don’t have all the pressure that they have. So when we go out there to play we have nothing to lose and we will try to get a result out of all of them.
“We are determined to do well and win. We are just going there to play to play our game and try to get some good results.” Seoposenwe affirmed.