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Banyana Banyana to go to Japan after failing to qualify for Olympics

19:56 BST 27/09/2019
Banyana Banyan 2019 Cosafa Cup
The Women's World Cup debutants will lock horns with the 2011 champions during the upcoming Fifa international window

South Africa Football Association (Safa) has officially announced the arrangement of an international friendly between Banyana Banyana and Japan on November 10.

Following the country's elimination from the Olympic Qualifiers at the hands of Botswana, Safa began to focus on preparing Desiree Ellis' side for the 2020 African Women's Cup of Nations qualifiers.

It will be the second time the two nations will be meeting since their first-ever encounter at the group stage of the London 2012 Women's Olympic Games at Millenium Stadium in Cardiff.

Members of Ellis' team that featured in the match which ended 0-0 are Robyn Moodaly, Nothando Vilakazi, captain Janine van Wyk, Leandra Smeda, Noko Matlou and Refiloe Jane.

Ellis is delighted with the chance to play against the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games hosts as she believes they can pick up some lessons at the Kitakyushu Stadium in Fukuoka.

“We are very excited to be playing this match because Japan is one of the powerhouses in women’s football," Ellis told Safa Media.

"I am confident this is going to be a great spectacle and we are looking forward to this match, which comes after the huge disappointment of being knocked out of the Olympic qualifiers.

“Once again our greatest gratitude to Safa and our proud sponsor Sasol for making sure they keep the team going, more so against such top-quality opposition. It may seem far but we still have Afcon qualifiers next year so we have to be preparing all the time and always be ready.

“Japan is the leader in Asia and a former world champion. They have won the World Cup at U17, U20 and senior level, so they are very tough customers. They are similar in the way we want to play so this is a great opportunity to get to learn more from them.

"They are further ahead than us in their development so it will be a huge test for us. They run non-stop and that means we have to be in good physical shape and stay fully concentrated for the duration of the game.

"They are small in stature like us and have perfected their way of playing – their passing and movement of the ball is something we can learn from. Technically and tactically they are very effective and do the simple things well.”

Despite being ranked 55th in the latest world ratings, South Africa are reigning Cosafa Women's Cup champions, while 10th ranked Japan won the Asian Football Confederation Women’s Asian Cup twice.