Banyana Banyana captain Janine van Wyk has urged her team to put up a strong fight in their friendly against Japan, to be played on November 10 in Fukuoka.
Banyana hope to recover from missing the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with a test match against the Japanese team, Nadeshiko, at Kitakyushu Stadium.
Van Wyk, who plays for Denmark side Fortuna Hjorring, also warned her team mates against complacency, having seen Canada lose 4-0 in an international friendly at the same venue early in October.
“It is fantastic that we get international friendly matches against quality opponents like Japan, and I think it is going to be a tough encounter. They recently beat Canada 4-0, so it is a huge task ahead of us. We haven’t been in camp for a while, so that is a challenge but everyone is going to be excited to come together and play some games,” van Wyk said.
She added that after the loss against Botswana players will want to prove a point that it was a fluke.
“Hopefully, against a strong opponent like Japan, we will come up with a good result to give us confidence boost as the national team, and know that we are still a quality team that will put up a fight against any major team.”
Van Wyk said the women’s game in South Africa has enjoyed a massive leap since they last met the 2011 World Cup winners at the London 2012 Olympic Games which ended in a goalless draw.
“I think both teams have changed a lot. However, I think Japan is very well organised and would probably keep their style. But what sets us back is that we haven’t played in a while since our game against Botswana, and since the World Cup we haven’t played a top-end team, and Japan will really be a test for us. We need to be cautious, but I think it will be a good test for both sides,” she said.