Banyana coach Vera Pauw: Do or die tonight against China at Rio Olympic Games

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The two sides should be fired up when they meet at 19h00 (midnight SA time) at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Both nations lost their Group E openers as South Africa went down 1-0 to Sweden, while China lost 3-0 to Brazil.

“Both South Africa and China need positive results after we did not do well in our first matches, so this makes this clash a do-or-die affair because should we win we stand a good chance of going to the quarterfinals and if we lose then our chances have decreased drastically. We could also make history by winning our first match at the Olympics,” said Pauw.

Pauw insists China can not be taken lightly despite their heavy defeat to the tournament hosts.

“We have been monitoring China for a while now, and seeing them play Brazil didn’t give us anything new. They are technically sound and very mobile, they are not strong physically but can move the ball around and that is what we need to guard against. If we give them openings they can break us. So we have to work hard to put them under pressure and not allow them to play, and that will be half the job done.

She adds that her greatest challenge now is getting the players ready emotionally.

“We are trying to get the body ready emotionally because we have built it for eight months to the first game against Sweden, now it is gone. We have to rebuild it for the next match and we only have two days in between to do that. That is the biggest challenge, not so much if we can play but if we can do it again. Physically we will be fine but are we emotionally ready, that is the key issue. But I believe we are ready,” said Pauw.