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Ellis excited by Sweden showdown

Posted: 3 October 2017 Time: 07:34

Banyana Banyana will play in Cape Town for the first time against Sweden in two matches on January 18 and 21.

The first game will be contested behind closed doors, with the second scheduled to kick off at 14h00.

In previous meetings Banyana lost 4-1 and 1-0 at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics respectively.

Banyana interim coach Desiree Ellis is looking forward to tackling the Scandinavians, who are ranked 11th in the world to South Africa's 52nd.

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Ellis said: “This is great news. We have been fortunate enough to play some of the top footballing nations where we gave a good account of ourselves, even though we did not get the results we wanted. This is amazing news to be playing Sweden – we met them twice, and this third meeting will be a way for us to show how far we have come, to show what we have done in the last year and a half.

“It is also for the players to make their mark so they can go and play in better leagues around the world. I would just like to say to SAFA and our sponsor Sasol, thanks for all the support, we can only get better if we play against top nations.”

Banyana captain Refiloe Jane is likewise excited by the challenge.

“Playing Sweden is going to be a morale booster for the team, because in order for us to improve we need to play the best in the business, so we can see how far we have come as a nation. Sweden is one of the best footballing nations when it comes to women’s football, we have already faced them twice and lost twice. But there has been a lot of improvement since the first match and we could have defeated them in Brazil,” said Jane.

“For individual players, these matches serve as an opportunity for us to market ourselves – you will remember that Janine van Wyk and Roxanne Barker were snapped up by overseas teams after we faced the USA and the Netherlands respectively, so these games are also important on that score.”

SAFA president Danny Jordaan added: “A match against Sweden is another step for Banyana Banyana as we build towards two major competitions – the qualification for the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations in Ghana and the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France – and this is a chance for the South African senior women’s national team to go to the next level.

“It’s a major challenge because Sweden is one of the top women’s team in the world, we would like to wish Banyana Banyana well in that game.”

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