South African football players were visited in Paris by a player who has already won the title of world champion. Runner-up Caster Semenya watched the national team of her country a few days ago. She took pictures with the players and encouraged them for the next games. "It's a legend," said striker Jermaine Seoposenwe about Semenya. "If any of them comes to us and tells us that anything is possible, it's great."
At least the transition to the second round seems difficult for the South African team, nicknamed "Banyana Banyana". After two defeats against Spain (1: 3) and China (0: 1), it occupies the last place in Group B. To go even further, it is imperative to win the victory against the country. Germany on Monday. Even with a premature exit, the South African team could be proud of its performance. For "Banyana Banyana", it was the first participation in a World Cup.
Chile, Jamaica and Scotland are also participating in the tournament for the first time. But in the world rankings, Jamaica (No. 53) is not as far behind South Africa (49). Team coach Desiree Ellis took part in the tournament as a foreigner and confirmed this role, especially with a poor performance against China. Things went better during the first World Cup against Spain, with the South Africans even leading 1-0 at halftime. Only through two penalties – including a very controversial – that the favored Spaniards can still decide the match.
Good switching game
It will not be easy for the Germans. "They are good in the Umschaltspiel and disgusting in the duels," said Almuth Schult, the goalkeeper of the national team. In defense, South African captain Janine van Wyk plays at the Houston Dash in the United States. She is the country's record national player and was one of the reasons why South Africa should be in France. At the Africa Cup in 2018, she led the field team, which won 2-0 in the semifinal against Mali and completed qualifying for the World Cup in the final.
For the championships of Africa, South Africa has been successful for years. In 1995, "Banyana Banyana" participated for the first time and has not missed any of the tournaments since then. South Africans have never won so far, especially Nigeria who seems to be an overwhelming opponent. Also in 2018, Nigeria won the final on penalties. At the time, it was 0-0 after 90 minutes – a sign, which is the biggest problem of South African women: the offensive. Even against China has managed to almost nothing before. This is not expected to change in Germany, but Caster Semenya said during his visit that anything was possible. Maybe the runner also had good advice to give to the attackers.