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Banyana Banyana to face Japan in international friendly

The clash will take place at the Kitakyushu Stadium in Fukuoka, Japan.

FILE: Banyana Banyana during a training session. Picture: @Banyana_Banyana/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Banyana Banyana will face Japan in an international friendly match scheduled for 10 November 2019.

The clash will take place at the Kitakyushu Stadium in Fukuoka, Japan.

As hosts of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games, the Asians have automatically qualified for the tournament and they are using this match as preparation for the sporting showpiece.

“We are very excited to be playing this match because Japan is one of the powerhouses in women’s football. I am confident this is going to be a great spectacle and we're looking forward to this match, which comes after the huge disappointment of being knocked out of the Olympic qualifiers,” said Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis.

“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 the Afcon qualifiers next year so we have to be preparing all the time and always be ready.”

This will be the second-ever ever meeting between the two nations. The first match was at the London Olympic Games in July 2012 in the group stages, and it ended in a goalless draw at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff.

“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 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," said Ellis.