Nigeria match no lost cause for Banyana

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

Banyana Banyana host Nigeria in their final Beijing Olympics qualifier next week that may seem like a lost cause to some, but coach Augustine Makalakalane, right, believes the match could be useful for his team.

Banyana have already failed to qualify for the games - Ghana and Nigeria whipped them and claimed the two top spots reserved for African teams last year. Ghana are the top of Group B with nine points, Nigeria second with six, and Banyana have no points.

They have decided to use this match, as well as the international friendly against Lesotho tomorrow as preparation for their next campaign.

The coach has also finally decided to make changes in his team, and will be introducing some fresh faces in the two matches.

The current team has been accused of stage fright at times, especially against the big-name teams.

"We play against Zimbabwe later this month at the sixth African women's championships. We will be unveiling new players from now on," Makalakalane said.

"I have scoured the country for players who believe they can win, players who are always willing to fight.

"We have not qualified for two major competitions [last year's World Cup in China and the Olympics], and now it's time for some changes."

According to Makalakalane, the three players: Rose Jijane, Veronica Phewa and Lena Mosebo, who have recently been recruited by a US team, will be able to join the squad.

The Lesotho match kicks off at 3pm at the High Performance Centre in Tshwane and the match against Nigeria is on February 16 at Caledonian stadium in Pretoria.