Banyana Banyana Vice-Captain Refiloe Jane says the squad is relishing tonight's African Women's Cup of Nations (AWCON) clash against Nigeria.
In a blockbuster encounter, Banyana will take on AWCON defending champions Nigeria in both the countries' opening match of the 2022 African Women’s Cup of Nations in Morocco.
"We know the rivalry is always something to look forward to."
Strangely, Banyana were also grouped alongside Nigeria in the last AWCON competition played in Ghana back in 2018. In the same edition, the two titans later locked horns once more in the final match where Banyana fell 4-3 on penalties.
The Super Falcons will be looking to extend their dominance over the competition with a 10th title and stretch their record to a fifth consecutive triumph of the continental showpiece.
Meanwhile, Banyana will be looking to break their runners-up curse in the competition, having made it to the final on five occasions but failed to win a single one of them.
Banyana though, have all the reason to be bullish on their chances after hammering Nigeria 4-2 in the Final of the Aisha Buhari Cup in September last year.
While this clash has been tipped as one of the headliners of the competition, Jane has warned that group mates and debutants Botswana and Burundi should also be considered just as much of a threat.
"As much as they [Nigeria] are a team most people are looking forward to us facing, we shouldn’t forget of the other two teams in the group who we also have to face in order to progress," Jane added.
Progression to the knockout stages would put South Africa within touching distance of an Australia-New Zealand World Cup ticket that’s guaranteed for all four of the competition’s semi-finalists – a goal coach Desiree Ellis has highlighted as a first priority.
Banyana players will also have added motivation in the form of the R9.2 million bonus promised by SAFA should they clinch the coveted trophy. This would see each player in the squad walking away with R400 000.
Match kick-off is scheduled for 19:00. (South African time)