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Banyana resumes Olympics quest

Banyana Banyana’s bid to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games continues with the team set to report for camp on Friday.

South Africa is scheduled to travel to Tanzania on 19 February for the first leg of the qualifiers before hosting the East Africans on 28 February.

The camp starts with six goalkeepers coming together over the weekend for specialised training before the rest of the team joins them on Monday.

“Goalkeeping is an important component of the team and sometimes it’s neglected in terms of specialised coaching and that’s why we have this camp,” Banyana coach Desiree Ellis told Safa media.

The local league is yet to start and Ellis’s target is to shake the rust off her players who have been involved in pre-season training with their clubs.

“We are in a similar scenario like we were when we had to play Algeria in the final qualifier for the 2022 Wafcon, where we only had two weeks of pre-season,” said the Banyana coach.

“However, this time around it’s different because the clubs are further ahead into pre-season and a big thank you to them.

“The training camp is for the local-based players because the players who are overseas are currently playing.”

Ellis’s full squad is made up of familiar faces and has been boosted by the return of captain Refiloe Jane who last played at the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup where she got injured.

But defender Bambanani Mbane is still out on the sidelines after she was also injured at the World Cup.

In securing passage to this qualifying round, Banyana saw off DR Congo by a 3-1 aggregate scoreline.

Banyana went to the Olympics in 2012 and 2016 but missed the last edition.

Pictured above: Banyana Banyana at the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup.

Image source: Fifa