The senior national women’s football side have arrived safely (albeit on the tired side!) in Chicago, United States after a long and draining trip. The team take on the world’s top ranked women’s football side in a friendly match at the Soldiers Field venue on Saturday evening (7pm SA time) as part of their Rio Olympics build-up. The Sasol-sponsored South African side left OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Tuesday evening and only reached their hotel late on Wednesday afternoon. En route they flew to Dakar, Senegal where they made a stopover of about an hour and a half then continued to Washington DC. After a four-hour wait they proceeded to Chicago. Banyana Banyana head coach Vera Pauw admitted it was a taxing trip. ‘It has been a tough trip, it was very long and took us about 32 hours to reach our destination – which is much longer than we had anticipated. To adapt to that we had to make some changes to our programme. ‘Instead of what we usually do – that is staying up as long as possible to get over jetlag – we did things differently. ‘We let the players sleep early enough to get some rest so that come Saturday we’re still in the balance. After a long travel like that we had to do some loosening up, which we did at a nearby park. ‘This is almost the same thing the team will experience when we travel to Brazil for the Olympics, but it will be a shorter flight as it is in the Southern Hemisphere,’ said Pauw. Banyana Banyana continue with their preparations for the match later on Thursday. The match will be the first time these two countries have met in an international match.