African champions and South Africa’s women team, Banyana Banyana, will return to the pitch for the first time since the World Cup run in Australia and New Zealand some months ago.
Banyana Banyana will play a double-header in the US before returning home to prepare for the 2024 Olympics Qualifiers against Congo in October.
“The Olympic qualifier is not too far from our minds. But we have two good games coming up to test ourselves and make sure that we put up a good performance,” shared coach Ellis said after her team landed in the US.
The first instalment of the friendlies will be played in the early hours of Friday.
USA – what we know about Banyana Banyana's opponents
The former World Champions are going through a rough patch at the moment. At the just concluded World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, they were knocked out by Sweden at the quarterfinal stage.
The reaction to that loss has seen former head coach Vlatko Andonovski resign from his position and Twila Kilgore was hired as interim.
“The Olympics may seem like they are far away, but the amount of time that the players get with the National Team between now and Paris is not a lot, so we need to start that journey now,” Kilgore said after naming the roster for this upcoming friendly.
Meanwhile, two-time World Cup champion Julie Ertz will play her final game as a member of the U.S. women's national team and same goes for Megan Rapinoe in celebration of their retirements.
Rapinoe and Ertz are expected to be the first two names on Kilgore's team sheet when drawing up her starting XI. When those two finally depart, the USWNT will lose a combined 324 international caps between them.
The exciting 22-year-old forward Mia Fishel, who recently signed for Chelsea, could also make her senior debut in this match.
What to expect from USA vs Banyana Banyana
The USA are in celebratory mood, while Banyana Banyana are using the game as a preparation ahead of their Olympic Qualifiers in October.
US have won both of their games against the South African side and they last met in 2019. The US are not having the best of time at the moment as they have not won any game in their past three games.
Regardless, it will be a tough task for Banyana Banyana though. On the two occasions that they lost, they failed to score.
Meanwhile, Banyana Banyana have grown since their last meeting, emerging as African champions and reached the second round at the World Cup.
Where USA vs Banyana Banyana will be played
The first game between the USA and Banyana Banyana Berkane will be played at the TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.
It is the home of FC Cincinnati, a Major League Soccer (MLS) team that has played there since the stadium opened on May 16, 2021.
The stadium holds approximately 26,000 spectators and is located in the West End neighborhood, at the former site of Stargel Stadium on Central Parkway at Wade Street.
It has a hybrid grass surface. During construction, it was also known as the West End Stadium.
⚽️USA🇺🇸 vs RSA🇿🇦
🗓️21 September (22 Sept. RSA)
🏟️TQL Stadium, Cincinnati
📺LIVE on @SABC_Sport and @Official_SABC1
— Banyana_Banyana (@Banyana_Banyana) September 21, 2023
Where to watch USA vs Banyana Banyana on Friday
The match will be beamed live to the audience on TNT, while the Live stream option is fuboTV.
It is also expected that the encounter will be screened LIVE on SABC Sport and SABC 1 with the build-up scheduled for 1:00 AM (South African Standard Time).
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 months ago