Banyana ready for tough England clash

Banyana Banyana coach Augustine Makalakalane said their Group A opening game against England in the Cyprus Eight Nations Cup will be tough.

The match will be played today at Larnaca's GSZ Stadium, kicking off at 2.45pm South African time.

The tournament takes place from March 3 to 13 .

"It will be an important test case to see how far we are as a team," said Makalakalane.

"In order to defend against a team of England's qualities, our strategy is to go out and attack.

"The longer we don't concede a goal, the more chance we have to get something out of the game.

"We will enter the field to compete and if we manage to achieve a draw against an opponent of England's class, that will be a huge bonus."

South Africa will use the tournament with an eye on the 2011 Fifa World Cup in Germany and the 2012 Olympic Games in England.

"South African women's football has never been to a World Cup or the Olympics," noted Makalakalane.

"The Eight Nations Cup will provide us with an opportunity to play against countries that usually play in the World Cup."

The astute South African coach selected a strong squad, including 2009 African Women's Player of the Year, striker Noko Matlou. -