BANYANA Banyana captain Janine van Wyk is wary of Zimbabwe’s Mighty Warriors after being placed alongside hosts Cameroon, Egypt and Zimbabwe in Group A of the 2016 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations Tournament.
“Zimbabwe will be another tough side to overcome as they are still fit and strong after all the experience gained at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Although they lost by a margin of goals, they showed tremendous character to score goals, which is something we lacked, says Van Wyk, after the draw which was held yesterday Sunday at Palais des Sports in Yaounde, Cameroon.
“They are very direct and will come out strong to show what they have learnt in Rio. Egypt, on the other hand, is a very unpredictable team. We haven’t played them many times but what we do know is that all these teams are all working extremely hard to get ready for this upcoming event,” she says adding that being grouped with the hosts is never an easy task, more so because they are one of the powerhouses of African women’s football.
“This time they will be stronger than ever as they will be playing every single match in front of their home supporters who are expected to come out in numbers to the stadiums,” she says of the tournament, which is scheduled for November 19 to December 3 in Yaounde and Limbe.
In their group, South Africa is the second highest ranked country on position 4 on the continent and 48th in the world, with Zimbabwe coming in on the 13th spot on the continent (94th in the world). while the hosts are placed third on the continent (47th in the world) and Egypt is ninth on the continent (80th in the world)
“We have made a name for ourselves by putting up good performances against international teams as well as at the Olympics. We are also looking to improve our position from reaching fourth place in the 2014 AWCON and use the experience we got in Rio to go all the way,” she says.
Group B has the defending champions Nigeria, with Mali, Ghana and Kenya who are making their debut.
The top two teams in each group advance to the semifinals.
Nigeria will be making their 12th appearance in the tournament – the highest by any nation.
Hosts Cameroon, with their 11th tournament entry, same as South Africa and Ghana, closely follow them.
While Zimbabwe, Mali and Egypt will be making their fourth, sixth and second appearances respectively while Kenya will be playing in their first ever tournament. – Patience Rusere