Banyana Banyana will face Sweden in two matches early in the New Year in Cape Town.
The first clash will take place behind closed doors on Thursday, 18 January.
The second fixture is scheduled for Sunday, 21 January 2018, with a 14h00 kickoff.
SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan has wished the team well on the upcoming clash.
“A match against Sweden is another step for Banyana Banyana as we build towards two major competitions – the qualification for the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations in Ghana and the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France – and this is a chance for the South African Senior Women’s National Team to go to the next level,” said Dr Jordaan.
“It’s a major challenge because Sweden is one of the top women’s team in the world, we would like to wish Banyana Banyana well in that game.”
This will be the third time the two nations meet – they have only faced each other in Olympic competition – and the South Africans will be hoping for a third time lucky.
The first match took place at the 2012 London Olympic Games with Banyana Banyana going down 4-1 – the retired Portia Modise scored South Africa’s solitary goal.
Their most recent meeting was at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games (Wednesday, 3 August), where South Africa lost 1-0.
“As the brand behind Sasol Banyana Banyana, we believe that the upcoming matches against a world class opponent like Sweden, will put them in good stead as they step up their preparations for the upcoming Africa Women Cup of Nations and FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Our partnership with SAFA goes a long way in ensuring that such games become a regular occurrence for Sasol Banyana Banyana thus ensuring that the development of women’s football in the country is maintained,” said Ms. Nozipho Mbatha, Sasol Group Brand Marketing Manager.
This will be the first time Banyana Banyana play a match in Cape Town, and also the first time they play in a World Cup venue in South Africa.
“In collaboration with the SAFA National Executive Committee, it gives me great pleasure to confirm that Cape Town will host the Swedish Senior Women’s National Football Team, together with our own Banyana Banyana. We urge everyone to come out in numbers to support our successful women’s national team. The opportunity to watch our in-form dynamic sports gems play live, is long overdue,” said Alderman Patricia De Lille, Mayor of the City of Cape Town.
Sweden is currently ranked 11th in the world and 5th in Europe, while South Africa is 52nd and 5th in the world and on the African continent respectively.
“This is great news. We have been fortunate enough to play some of the top footballing nations where we gave a good account of ourselves, even though we did not get the results we wanted. This is amazing news to be playing Sweden – we met them twice, and this third meeting will be a way for us to show how far we have come, to show what we have done in the last year and a half,” said Banyana Banyana interim head coach Desiree Ellis.
“It is also for the players to make their mark so they can go and play in better leagues around the world. I would just like to say to SAFA and our sponsor Sasol, thanks for all the support, we can only get better if we play against top nations.”
Leading to the Olympic Games, Banyana Banyana played against high-profile teams like the USA, the Netherlands as well as New Zealand.
Earlier this year (January 2017), South Africa travelled to Reunion Islands to face France – a match they lost 2-0.
“Playing Sweden is going to be a morale booster for the team, because in order for us to improve we need to play the best in the business, so we can see how far we have come as a nation. Sweden is one of the best footballing nations when it comes to women’s football, we have already faced them twice and lost twice, but there has been a lot of improvement since the first match and we could have defeated them in Brazil,’ said Banyana Banyana captain Refiloe Jane.
“For individual players, these matches serve as an opportunity for us to market ourselves – you will remember that Janine van Wyk and Roxanne Barker were snapped up by overseas teams after we faced the USA and the Netherlands respectively, so these games are also important on that score.”
In their last five matches, Sweden drew against Germany, lost to both Italy and the Netherlands, and beat Russia and Croatia.
** The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be the 8th edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. It will be played between 7 June and 7 July in France where 24 teams will contest for the trophy. USA are the defending champions.
** The 2018 Women Africa Cup of Nations tournament, to be held in Ghana from 17 November to 1 December, also doubles as the African qualifiers to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The top three nations in Ghana will qualify for France.
** South Africa has never qualified for the World Cup, but has been to two Olympic Games tournaments (2012 and 2016).