The Banyana Banyana national women’s football side will be looking to up their power and strength in the build-up to the London Olympic Games in July this year, with Brazilian physical trainer Francesco Gonzales confident that the players have improved in leaps and bounds from a physical fitness perspective.
Gonzales, who is also the physical trainer to Bafana Bafana, put the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana through their paces during their first training session at Brazil’s national football training centre, Granja Comary, 100km outside Rio de Janeiro, on Sunday.
ÔÇ£There is no doubt that these Banyana Banyana players are fitter and stronger than before, but I have six months to work on their power and strength to ensure maximum explosive bursts from them during matches at the Olympics,ÔÇØ said Gonzales.
Banyana Banyana will play their first match of their Brazil trip on Tuesday. The South African’s face club side Zepe de Dugue at 6.30pm South African time.
USA-based goalkeeper Roxanne Barker has joined the national team camp in Teresopolis, to complete the contingent of 22 players for the South American leg of the training camp.
The Peperdine University third year biology student expressed her happiness to be in the Banyana Banyana team. ÔÇ£I played quite a bit of football as a central defender for Durban Ladies in the KwaZulu Natal Sasol League, but my university coaches have been quite happy with my performances as a goalkeeper and I have stayed in that position since,ÔÇØ said Barker, whose parents have relocated from Durban to Somerset West in the Western Cape, where she visits when out in South Africa on holiday.
The 20-year-old Barker, with two Banyana Banyana caps to her name, joined fellow goalkeepers Thoko Mndaweni and Mputle Ntshatsana in training under the watchful eye of Banyana Banyana goalkeeper coach, former Bloemfontein Celtic No 1 Simon Gopane.
ÔÇ£The spirit in the camp is superb and I think we are in for an exciting few weeks here in Brazil and at the Cyprus Women’s Cup later this month,ÔÇØ added Barker.
ÔÇ£Credit must go to our team sponsor Sasol and SAFA for creating all these wonderful opportunities for our top women players to showcase their football skills against some of the best teams in the world. I am also positive that these outings will do us a world of good come competition time.ÔÇØ