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Bantwana targeting second U17 World Cup appearance

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South African football fans’ eyes will be on the Bantwana national Under-17 women’s side as they attempt to qualify for their second FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup.

Bantwana, who assembled for camp on Tuesday, will take on Morocco this Sunday at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto. Kick-off is at 3pm and entry is free.

Following the failure of the national U20 Women’s side to qualify for the World Cup, all hopes now lie with Bantwana to secure one of the three available slots for the African continent in the women’s U17 World Cup.

The tournament will be held in Uruguay, South America, between 20 November and 13  December.

This will be the sixth edition of the competition. North Korea won the last edition.

South Africa last qualified for the tournament in 2010 in Trinidad and Tobago, where Jermaine Seoposenwe and Rachel Sebati – who are now with Banyana Banyana – were part of the squad.

Bantwana progressed to the second and final round of qualifiers after defeating Botswana 6-4  (11-6 on aggregate) in the second leg played at the Dobsonville Stadium in December. The South Africans won 5-2 in the first leg, which took place in Botswana.

Morocco made it to this round following a walkover against Equatorial Guinea, who withdrew from the qualifiers.

South Africa and Morocco both received a bye in the preliminary round.

Bantwana head coach, Simphiwe Dludlu, has named a squad of 26 players to face the North Africans. He has brought in four new players: defender Lonathemba Mhlongo (Tottenham FC), midfielder Zethembiso Vilakazi (Lindelani FC) as well as strikers Nicole Micheal (University of Johannesburg) and Isabella Ludwig (Randburg FC).

Earlier this month, Dludlu called up a week-long training camp for her squad.

After Sunday’s match, Bantwana and Morocco, who have already arrived in South Africa, will meet again in the second leg scheduled for the weekend of 16-18 February in Morocco.

 


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