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Jordaan: Banyana must push on from Cup campaign

The Banyana Banyana national senior women’s side are back on home turf from Europe after ending sixth in the Cyprus Women’s Cup.

Coach Desiree Ellis’ charges finished sixth of the 12 teams, a much better showing than when they first entered the tournament in 2009 when they also ended sixth, but out of eight teams.

South Africa touched down on Friday after spending almost two weeks in Europe and were welcomed by Danny Jordaan, president of the South African Football Association (SAFA), National Executive Committee members Ria Ledwaba and Anastasia Tsichlas, as well as SAFA CEO Dennis Mumble.

Banyana Banyana faced Slovakia, Hungary, Korea DPR and Belgium in the competition.

‘I’m very excited with the way our women’s national teams are performing at the moment. Just recently the U20 bowed out of the World Cup qualifiers, but the U17s booked their ticket to Uruguay. Now we have the senior team, Banyana Banyana, going to Europe to compete against the best and giving a good showing,’ said Jordaan.

‘South African women’s football is doing very well, but we won’t stop here. I’m quite impressed with your [Banyana] achievement. Just recently you faced Sweden, and even though you lost, you showed that you can mix it up with the best in the game.

‘Now what is needed is for us to go the extra mile and give it one last push so that we don’t come back and say we nearly got it – now is the time to get it.’

Banyana’s next assignment is the CAF Africa Women’s Cup of Nations qualifier against either Lesotho or Swaziland in June.

‘We now need to work and train harder and also get more quality opposition. I think we must go and play the likes of Nigeria and Ghana before the AFCON and beat them. It’s very important that we don’t meet them for the first time in the actual tournament. We need to go on a West African tour because in that way we will get used to their style of play,’ added the SAFA President.

Banyana’s Thembi Kgatlana was voted Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Her accolade comes on the back of her nomination for the CAF African Female Player of the Year as well as the Player of the Tournament at the 2017 COSAFA Cup.

Kgatlana has already left for the US to join her new team, Houston Dash, together with new signee Linda Motlhalo and will be accompanied by captain Janine van Wyk, who returns for her second season.

Also traveling to the US as part of the Dash line-up will be SAFA video analyst Shilene Booysen.

The 2018 Cyprus Women’s Cup was the 11th edition of the competition. It’s an annual event that involves 12 women’s national teams from around the world, although predominately European.

South Africa made their sixth appearance. Spain won the competition after defeating Italy 2-0 in the final.