Banyana Banyana captain Janine van Wyk says tough journey has yielded positive results


The team are currently in Chicago to take on the United States as they continue their preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

A tough encounter awaits Banyana as they take on a US women's team that are yet to lose in 2016 and are current Olympic and World Champions.

Van Wyk admits that despite the magnitude of the task at hand, being in the USA and playing against the best women's team in the world is beyond what many could have imagined.

"We have been talking about how much it is a dream come true for all of us as this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity, something we will never forget," she said.

We know it will probably be the most difficult opponent we will ever get to play in our lives but we will make the most of it and see what we can get out of the game.

"We are extremely focused and looking forward to this match."

The encounter, a first meeting between the two, will take place this Saturday at Soldiers Field in Chicago with kickoff at 7pm.

Van Wyk says that whilst the team are aiming for a win they believe that garnering experience from this game is more important.

"For us it is not so much about the result, yes we want to win, but we also have to look at the bigger picture. If we get a good result against the USA it will give us a huge confidence going to Rio. We will take it step by step,” said the Banyana Banyana skipper.

With preparations for Rio now drawing to an end, van Wyk reflected on what a difficult undertaking it has been to get to where they are now and reserved a special mention for her coach Vera Pauw.

“Since we qualified for the Olympics we knew it was going to be a tough journey, we knew there were a lot of challenges that we would face and a lot of games to play so we can progress and improve as a team and as individuals, and that is exactly what we have done," said van Wyk.

"Up to now we have played so many games and these are the most games we have played for me in my career – it is absolutely amazing to play all these teams, and now at this stage we are playing the best in the world.

"We have to be grateful for we got, we have to give huge thanks to SAFA and Sasol for making it all possible, and of course our coach for believing in us.

"She still believes that we can compete against the best in the world. Without all of them this would not have been possible."