Banyana recharge batteries

13 June 2019 | Sports

Banyana Banyana took time to recharge their batteries in one of the great cities of the world – Paris - on Tuesday ahead of their crunch clash against China in a Fifa Women's World Cup group match at the Parc des Princes Stadium tonight.

After losing their opening match of the tournament 3-1 to Spain last week a spree of shopping in Paris was probably on the agenda before they go 'shopping' for points against China.

If they leave empty-handed their chances of progressing further in this tournament will have evaporated.

Coach Desiree Ellis said it was important for the team to switch off from football to help their mental preparation.

“We are in the middle of a competition but at times you need to give the players a break so they let their hair down and recharge their batteries, and what better way to do it than to visit this famous place which most of them have only seen it on television,” said Ellis.

“The joy on their faces when we arrived there said a lot, and you could see they were clearly enjoying themselves,” said Ellis.

“But after that it's back to the grindstone to prepare for a very crucial game where we need a win at all costs, bearing in mind that we lost our first match at the tournament.

“I'm just hopeful the visit will rejuvenate them and inspire them to work even harder for the upcoming challenge.”

Banyana Banyana will be without the experienced left-back Nothando Vilakazi, who was red-carded against Spain.

“It's still a toss-up as to who will come in in Vivo's place, but I'm confident that whoever takes that position will not disappoint.

“Having seen videos of China, there may be some changes to the team, which I believe will give us the desired results because we are all aware that a loss against China will mean we are out of the tournament,” added Ellis.

“With two training sessions left we will try out a few combinations and whoever raises their hand will get the nod. But we already have someone in mind that can slot into the position.

“This is a must-win for us and with a settled back four we are positive that we can compete. But we have to do to what we can to win, as this game is like a final for us.”

South Africa's last group match will be against Germany in Montpellier next Monday.