S Africa, Zimbabwe ready for Olympic qualifiers

COSAFA sides South Africa and Zimbabwe enter the final stages of their bid to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.

Zimbabwe are away at Cameroon in the first leg of their tie, while South Africa host Equatorial Guinea.

Both are difficult opponents, but South Africa coach Vera Pauw says her side will be ready to take on a side that vanquished in Nigeria in the previous round.

“I must admit after playing Kenya at the beginning of August we would have been rusty going into such an important fixture, but the three matches we played in Congo have kept the players in shape and we were also able to come up with new strategies to face Equatorial Guinea,” The Dutch coach said.

“The good thing also is that we returned from Congo without injuries so we have had all the players training, which helps with our preparations and we are able focus on our plans instead of attending to injured players.

“We know that most of their (Equatorial Guinea) players who went to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany are part of the current squad, and those are more or less the same players that defeated Nigeria.

“We expect them to play very attacking football, more like European-style as most of them don’t play in Equatorial Guinea. But we are ready.”

South Africa appeared at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, while the Zimbabwe women’s side are seeking a first ever appearance at the global showpiece.

The winner of these two-legged ties advances to the Rio games.