Banyana head off to Cyprus

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

Still riding high as worthy runners-up at the African Women's Championships, Banyana Banyana are off to Cyprus early next week to compete in the prestigious Eight Nations tournament.

Coach August Makalakalane will be taking 20 players to the Mediterranean island.

The eight-day tournament - in which Banyana will face the likes of France and England - kicks off on Thursday and will run until March 12.

Fran Hilton-Smith, the team manager, said such opportunities were ideal platforms to enable the national side to go on and qualify for major competitions such as the World Cup and the Olympic Games - a feat they still have not managed since South Africa's re-admission to world sporting events after apartheid.

Captain Kylie-Ann Louw and strikers Noko "Killer" Matlou and Amanda Dlamini are just three of the experienced campaigners in the team.

Banyana's opening match is against England on Thursday.

Matlou admitted yesterday that she did not know much about England's or Russia's playing styles.

"I do not know much about them, except from seeing them on TV playing at the World Cup.

"They have had so much more exposure than us, it will be tough but we should learn a thing or two."

National teams and dates:

Group A:

Thursday-March 5

England v South Africa

France v Scotland


England v France

SA v Scotland


Scotland v England

France v SA

Group B

Thursday-March 5

Russia v Netherlands

Canada v New Zealand


Netherlands v Canada

New Zealand v Russia


Canada v Russia

New Zealand v Netherlands

Thursday - Finals