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Korea game a ‘must-win’ for Banyana, says Jane

Refiloe Jane, vice-captain of the Banyana Banyana national women’s football squad says they’ll have to be on top of their game to get a win against South Korea at the Cyprus Cup on Monday.

The two countries meet in the third and final group stages match at the Stadio Tasos Markos in Paralimni, Cyprus wth kick-off at 1pm SA time.

‘They are not an easy side to play – they’re very comfortable on the ball and knock it around nicely and confidently. In a way, we are playing the same type of football, so that game will demand a lot from us. They are mobile and we need to make sure we are on point on the day,’ said Jane after the squad’s final training session ahead of the big match.

Both sides haven’t lost a match – South Korea defeated Slovakia and Hungary to move to the top of Group C with six points, while South Africa played to a goalless draw against Slovakia and beat Hungary 1-0 to occupy second position two points behind.

A win for Banyana Banyana will see them topple the Asians and move to seven points – giving them a shot at playing for the third and fourth position in the tournament, which would be the highest South Africa has ever reached since making their debut in the tournament in 2009.

A defeat or a draw for coach Desiree Ellis’ charges will have them fighting for position five or six.

‘It’s a game that we have win so we can get our best finish in the tournament. It is not going to be an easy one, however, because both teams haven’t lost, so one can say it is a top of the table clash. We want to win so we can go for third and fourth position – and that will be our best showing ever in the tournament. We are ready for them and we will give it our best,’ added Jane.

The 11th edition of the Cyprus Women Cup kicked off on 28 February and will conclude on Wednesday, 7 March 2018. It involves 12 women’s national teams from around the world, mainly from Europe.

The competition has been held since 2008, and Switzerland are the current champions.

This is South Africa’s sixth appearance, and their highest finish was sixth in 2009. They ended eight in 2010, 10th in 2012, 11th in 2013 and 10th in 2015.

Banyana Banyana are using the tournament to prepare for a crucial 2018 where they have to qualify for the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations that will be held in Ghana later this year – which is also being used as a World Cup qualifier.

‘This is an important tournament for us, looking at the hectic schedule we have in 2018. We have to qualify for the 2018 African Women’s Cup of Nation where we need to finish in the top three to qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. This year is going to be a busy one for us, so a good showing at this tournament is crucial so we can be better prepared for the road ahead,’ said Jane.

After two rounds of matches, Slovakia is in third place in Group C with just one point, while Hungary is fourth with no points after two losses.

Finland, In Group A, there Finland, Switzerland, Italy and Wales, while Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic and Spain are in Group B.

According to the format of the tournament, South Africa can’t win the competition, but if they finish top of the table they will face the best runners up from Groups A and B for the third and fourth place play-off.

Should Banyana Banyana finish second, they will take on the second best runners up from Groups A and B for a fifth or sixth place position.

Picture of Banyan at training courtesy of Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix