Jane confident Banyana capable of passing group stage
Banyana captain says she'll be helpful to the team against Italy
Banyana Banyana skipper Refiloe Jane says they understand that they will be carrying the hopes of more than 60-million South Africans at the World Cup, to be co-hosted in New Zealand and Australia from July 20 to August 20.
At this global showpiece, Banyana are pitted against Sweden, Argentina and Italy in Group G. SA face Sweden on July 23, before battling it out against Argentina five days later. Italy are Banyana’s last Group G opponents on August 2.
“When we go out there, we are not representing ourselves but the whole of SA. I think we have a population of about 60-million people in SA, and as Banyana we understand that we carry the hopes of each and every one of those people on our shoulders. We are not taking that for granted, we know how big it is to be in the World Cup. We are going to make the country proud,” Jane said.
The Banyana captain, who’s plying her trade in Italy with Sassuolo, is confident they’ll get out of the group stages this time around after failing to do so in the previous World Cup, hosted by France in 2019. Jane feels they picked up valuable lessons in France, where they lost all three of the pool stage games.
“Looking at our group, I think we’ve what it takes to progress to the knockout phase of the tournament. We have quality and experience in the team,” Jane said.
“The previous World Cup was a learning curve for us and we are now going there as African champs, we have what it takes to progress to the next stage of the tournament. However, we are not going to get ahead of ourselves, firstly we need to get over Sweden and then we will focus on Argentina and Italy.”
Jane reckons playing Italy makes her a secret weapon Banyana can use to have an intel about the European nation.
“Playing in Italy makes it quite easier for me to share info about them with the management. I think 95% of players in the national team of Italy play at home, so some of them are my teammates and some I’ve played against. I know a lot of their team and their structure.”
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