FIFA have unveiled the official match ball for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, as Banyana Banyana gear up for their second-ever appearance at the grand showpiece. Here's a look!
South African supporters will be excited by the women's national team's imminent participation at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand later this year.
The event is set to get underway on 20 July, while Banyana will begin their Group G campaign three days later against Sweden, who are ranked third on FIFA's women's rankings, before games against Argentina and Italy in what has been touted as the group of death.
However, The Girls will be up for the challenge as preparations are already underway. Desiree Ellis' side have now found out the kind of ball they will be kicking at the tournament Down Under.
On Tuesday, FIFA in collaboration with adidas launched the OCEAUNZ, official match ball, which is said to be inspired by the unique "natural landscapes of the two host nations, with visuals nodding to the vast mountains of Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia’s connection with the Indian Ocean."
The launch was nothing short of spectacular, as the ball was delivered to venue in Marks Park by a helicopter, traveling across the captivating Sydney skyline. It is also the ninth occasion in a row where adidas have designed the tournament's ball, and it features artwork by Aboriginal artist, Chern’ee Sutton, and Maori artist, Fiona Collis.
“adidas has created an iconic Official Match Ball for the FIFA Women’s World Cup that reflects diversity, inclusivity and togetherness, fitting themes for the first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup to be co-hosted by two different countries from different confederations," FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura said at the launch.
This edition of the tournament will be extremely special and the rich cultures of Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, as evoked on OCEAUNZ, are certain to take the experience of visiting fans and teams.”
Speaking at a press briefing at the SAFA House in Nasrec last week, coach Ellis outlined the plans for the tournament and revealed that they also also planning to bolster their technical team
“For us, this is a big year with the World Cup in July. Our first engagement is a pre-camp before the Cyprus Cup in which we will take part on 13-23 February," the 59-year-old tactician said.
“After that, the next FIFA date is 3-11 April and we are looking to play friendly matches against teams who play similar to our opponents at the World Cup. In between, we will be sending out the programmes to our players in order to keep them at a competitive level.
“In May, we are looking for a short camp for local-based players, as we know that the overseas-based players will be active with their clubs. Then the last FIFA date will only be in July before the tournament kicks off.
“At the beginning of July, we will start with our full-on preparations for the World Cup – firstly at home and also in New Zealand. We will have another friendly match in New Zealand as well. If you count all of these, we are looking at about six tough matches before our opening match at the World Cup."
Your thoughts, please?
Can Banyana make history and advance beyond the group stage?
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