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2016: A busy year for national teams

Written by Albert Pule
Most of South Africa’s national teams are going to have a busy year competing in international competitions.

All our teams including the men’s senior national team (Bafana Bafana), the under 23s (Amaglug-glug), the women’s senior national team (Banyana-Banyana) and the Proteas, are going to test their competitiveness with their many counterparts from all corners of the world in various competitions.

Bafana Bafana will have a two-legged tough encounter with West African powerhouse Cameroon to qualify for the 2017 African Cup of Nations and the 2018 FIFA World Cup to he hosted by Russia.

SOCCER

 

The first leg will be played on March 23 and the return leg will be played five days later. For the first time in the history of South African football, the country will have two national teams competing at the Olympics. This after both the national under 23s and the women’s senior national team both qualified for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in Brazil later this year.

Both teams will be competing in the Olympics for the second time after the national under 23 last made an appearance in the Sydney Olympics in 2000 while the women’s senior national team made an appearance recently at the London Olympics in 2012.

 

CRICKET

 

The Proteas will battle world’s best cricket playing nations in the T20 International World Cup to be hosted by India. The World Cup will be played from the 11 March 2016 to the 3 April 2016.

 

RUGBY

 

Following their recent disappointment in the World Cup, the Springboks will want to close that chapter and focus on the 2016 Rugby Championship featuring the top three nations in rugby from the southern hemisphere. The competition will feature the world champions New Zealand, losing finalists Australia, South Africa and Argentina both were semifinalists in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

This year will also be a year where the best athletes in the world compete in the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).

 

THE OLYMPIC GAMES

 

The Olympic Games will be held between the 5 August to 21 August 2016 while the Paralympic Games will be played the next month from the 7th of September to the 18th of September 2016.

As the previous Olympic Games in London 2012, South Africa will send a team to represent the country at the competition. President of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) Gideon Sam said preparations for the Rio Olympics are at an advanced stage.

“We are all very aware that it’s an Olympic year and we’re busy putting the finishing touches to all the work that commenced immediately after the London Olympics. “It hasn’t been easy because the harder we work, the harder the other countries seem to work.”

He added that he is hopeful that the team that will be sent to Brazil to represent the country will perform better and improve on the performance of the 2012 team.

 

SWIMMING

 

“Our athletes in both the Olympic and Paralympic discipline performed admirably and we are sure that their hard work will bear fruit come Rio 2016.” South African swimmers will also have a busy year. After competing at the Olympics, they will compete at the 2016 FINA World Swimming Championships to be held in Windsor, Canada, He added that the target for the next competition will be 10 medals.

“I still believe 10 medals are do ‘able, but the ‘sober’ minds around me say, we should expect around seven. An improvement of only one medal compared to London doesn’t really sit well with me, but time will tell.”

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