Banyana put in Pot 4 of the World Cup drawThomas Kwenaite
South Africa was thrown into Pot 4 together with Argentina, Chile, Nigeria, Cameroon and Jamaica ahead of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup draw at La Seine Musicale on the small island of Ile Seguin on Saturday.
The hosts France occupy Pot 1 with England, the United States of America, Germany, Canada and Australia, considered the big guns of global women’s football while the Netherlands, Japan, Sweden, Brazil, Spain and Norway have been thrown into Pot 2.
SA coach Desiree Ellis departed for the French capital city on Thursday to attend the draw at the biggest stage for women football that will get underway from 7 June to 7 July at six cities across France.
The South African Football Association (SAFA) has already mapped out a programme of action for Banyana Banyana leading up to the Mundial that would culminate with a two-month camping session starting in April before the team departed for France.
“We are obviously waiting to see how the draw pans out,” said SAFA Acting CEO Russell Paul. “Once the draw has been conducted, we would be able to see which countries can we approach to play friendly games in preparation for the tournament.
“But I can confirm that we have secured the team a position to take part in the 2019 Cyprus Cup during February and early March,” added Paul.
Chile, who drew and defeated Banyana Banyana prior to the African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) tournament in Ghana, is among countries that have also qualified for the Mundial.
Although final plans have not yet been revealed and depending on the draw, there is no doubt that South Africa is keen on challenging the Netherlands after securing a friendly game against Sweden, certainly one of the toughest countries in the world.
Banyana will test their readiness against European giants Sweden at the Cape Town Stadium on January 22 and a fortnight later, are expected to play against the Netherlands, if negotiations succeed and of course, depending on the draw.
Banyana’s programme gets underway during the second week of January when they assemble for physical and medical tests before engaging in a training match in Johannesburg on January 16.
The programme will be accelerated when they play Sweden in Cape Town six days later on January 22 and have arrange for possibly to face the Netherlands on February 1-5 at a venue to be confirmed.
They then go into camp during the first week of April where an international friendly has also been arranged between 1-9 April before playing additional two matches on May 11 and May 15 and then flying out to France.