17 October 2015 – Banyana Banyana arrived safely at a wet and humid Bata in Equatorial Guinea and have settled well.
South Africa takes on the host nation in a 2016 Rio Olympic Games qualifier on Sunday, 18 October 2015 at Estadio de Bata.
SAFA Media sat down striker Jermaine Seoposenwe to get her thoughts on the match.
Matlhomola Morake: Jermaine, the big one on Sunday, what are your thoughts and feelings?
Jermaine Seoposenwe: I feel like we are in a good place as a team because when we played them in the first leg we controlled the game, we had so many opportunities, so that sort of gives us confidence going into the game. I believe we are good enough to win against them. I feel like we anxious about getting a win, but it’s a good anxious not the one of fear. We realise we have the capabilities to do well. We don’t want to think much about it but we know we have to stick to the game plan, stick to what we know as a team, go in there and try get a win.
MM: We went to Kenya and came back with a win, do you get the sense that that is where the team is at the moment?
JS: I think so. I don’t think there is any doubt in the team. We are capable of getting a win. There is a definitely a belief that we can get to Rio so I don’t think there is any fear from our players, yes a bit of nerves here and there as expected with every game, but nothing to worry about. It is not like in the past when we failed to do well against them, so it’s a complete turn-around for the team in terms of our belief and ability, how we have come together as a team. We know we are capable so I feel it is the same situation as when we went into the Kenya game – a strong belief all round that we can get victory.
MM: Having not conceded at home, does that put SA in a better place?
JS: Most definitely, conceding at home would have been terrible. They didn’t have many opportunities to get a goal so I feel our defence can continue from where they left off. The score line as it is puts us in an “ok” position, not necessarily better, because better for me would have been to win the game. But the situation right now certainly gives us confidence in terms of qualifying, but there is still the pressure of getting the win. We want that win, we want to score that goal to take us forward.
MM: How important is this final 90 or so minutes?
JS: This match is going to be one of the most important things, but as a Christian I feel there is more to life than just a game so the 90 minutes will be up there with some of the defining moments of my life. Last time (in 2012) the team went to the Olympic Games, I didn’t go because of injury, and that is definitely a milestone I want to reach in my career – I want to participate in the Olympics, I want to be called an Olympiad like many of my teammates. So whatever happens I will put in God’s hand and he will take care of the rest. One thing certain is that I want to win, my teammates want to win, we all want to win so badly – we want to do it for the country, for women’s football in South Africa. It’s going to be a tough one for all of us and probably something that will define as a team at the end of the day, so it is very important to get a good result, it doesn’t matter who scores – we just want a win, we want to get to Rio. So yes, this 90 minutes will be up there with some of the most important things in my life.
MM: Having said that, what must the team do to win?
JS: Give their all! I feel it’s going to take every inch of belief, every training that you have gone through, everything you have. The match is going to define each and every one of us who we are as players. People normally say you have to give 200%, while that is not possible but it will take as much for the players to achieve success. I feel this is probably the hardest game that every one of us will play and we have to give our all, lay our lives down for the team. At my club in the USA we always say we are family and playing for the next person shows you belong to the family, it also shows we love each other and we will work for each other on the field. So it will take everything – whatever you can give just lay it out there and when you step off the field know that you have given your all, and that is how we can get a win.
MM: Does this match need any motivation for the players?
JS: Definitely not! If you need motivation for this game then you don’t belong here. I feel like there is so much at stake – the Olympic Games come around every four years and you wouldn’t want to miss out. This team has gone through so much disappointment, and this is the last straw for us, we don’t want to be disappointed again and think of what you could have done right. No player needs motivation, I believe all those disappointment we have gone through and doing it for your country should be enough to motivate us as players. People back at home have so much belief in us and we want to pay back that belief and improve women’s football in the process, and the only way we can do that is by qualifying for the Olympics. As a player, if you think about the sacrifices people have made – the technical staff, the support staff, everyone, including yourself as a player then you should be motivated. I was reading Luke 12:48 (From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more). I feel like a lot has been given to us and we need to show that it was not all in vain. We need to show our appreciation by doing well.
MM: Message to the fans back home?
JS: The first words would be thank you, thank you for supporting us for so long. We will try and get a win for you, we will honestly do our best. While I can’t promise a win, what I can promise is that everyone will give their best, everyone will go in hard and there will probably be blood, sweat and tears in our quest for victory because we know it is going to be a hard-fought game. To our lovely fans, Banyana Banyana will fight like we always do.