Vera Pauw excludes Banyana from Olympic opening ceremony


Instead coach Vera Pauw wants South Africa’s women’s team tucked up in bed early as they play a crucial group game against China.

“It’s naturally something we wanted to participate in but we have a key game and we cannot afford to stay up late,” Pauw said.

Usually the ceremony runs deep into the night and Banyana Banyana play China at the Olympic Stadium at 7pm local time on Saturday.

It is seen as a must-win match for Banyana if they are to have any chance of progressing past the first round after their 1-0 loss to Sweden in their opening Group E match on Wednesday.

Pauw does not want any distractions. “We are here to perform and we are leaving the rest to itself,” she continued.

“If there is a shower in the Olympic village that does not work, then we go and shower in the next door apartment. In that way we are all standing together and we are not concerned with any other business, like whether the stands are full or empty.

“As far as I’m concerned there is no difference for me between coaching the Dutch team at a European Championship or going to the Olympics. Each are a unique platform on which you have to perform. The better you do, the further you go and then the crowds will come flocking,” she added.

South Africa’s last group game is next week Tuesday against hosts Brazil in Manauas where they are not given much chance, even though their male counterparts held Neymar and his teammates to a 0-0 draw in their match in Brasilia on Thursday.