Why Banyana settled for Costa Rica

By Michael Madyira

Safa chief executive officer Lydia Monyepao has shed light on why they picked Costa Rica as an opponent for Banyana Banyana’s 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup last preparatory match.

South Africa will wind up their international friendly match schedule ahead of the World Cup with a match against Costa Rica in Christchurch, New Zealand on 15 July.

The game comes five days before the World Cup kicks off in Australia and New Zealand and Banyana will begin their campaign against Sweden on 23 July.

After meeting Sweden, Desiree Ellis’ girls will take on Argentina and Monyepao feels Costa Rica is ideal to gear themselves up for the challenge against the South Americans. 

“The friendly match against Costa Rica is crucial in our preparations for this Fifa Women’s World Cup,” Monyepao told Safa’s media.

“We are aiming higher in this tournament, and the rehearsal against Costa Rica will give us an idea of one of our group opponents, Argentina.”

It will be Banyana’s seventh friendly match before the World Cup and victory would be crucial to boost their confidence going into the tournament where they will also face Italy in their last group game.

So far, South Africa has suffered four defeats in the build-up to the World Cup and also registered a win and a draw.

Ellis also justifies why they selected Costa Rica.

“They qualified through a tough campaign in the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) World Cup qualifiers,” said Ellis.

“So another World Cup-bound team, we’re really looking forward to the match and to be able to just finally, you know, cross our t’s and dot our i’s just before the World Cup starts.”

The Banyana coach is currently finalising the final squad she will take to the World Cup. 

Pictured above: Banyana Banyana players celebrating

Image source: Banyana Banyana

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