The Bantwana national women’s U17 side have completed their preparations and are raring to go for their 2018 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup qualifier against Botswana on Saturday.
The second leg, first round encounter will take place at the Dobsonville Stadium, Soweto with kick-off scheduled for 3pm.
The visitors trail 2-5 after the first leg played at the Lobatse Sports Complex in Botswana two weeks ago.
But Bantwana head coach Simphiwe Dludlu wants to hear nothing about the scoreline.
‘We cannot afford to be complacent, we are well aware that Botswana came back from behind to defeat Zambia in the last round – so I keep drumming it into the players that this is a completely new fixture, the score is 0-0 and this is a must win game for us.
‘In that way it helps them to be disciplined on the field, which will improve their play because they will be focused. The last match is history, we don’t talk about it anymore because we are starting on a clean slate,’ said Dludlu.
With all the players available from the first leg, Dludlu says she won’t tamper much with the winning team.
‘We don’t change much, why fix it if it ain’t broken. The girls did well and we have been watching at them at training this week and we see they still have the hunger to do well, and that makes me happy,’ added the former Banyana Banyana captain.
‘What we were concerned about is the two goals we conceded – fortunately we won the match and we were playing away, so they won’t hurt us much. What we have been working on this week is to ensure we don’t let in goals again – we have to defend better and deny them scoring chances, and this mentality will help us a great deal going forward. The girls are responding well to the drills and it makes life much easier as a coach.’
Dludlu has called on the South African public to come in their numbers to support the team when they face Botswana.
‘This is our starting point for all the national teams, this is the level where we can gauge whether our development structures are working or not. For those who missed out on the first leg, come and see how much talent we have in this country.
‘And also this is a crucial qualifier for the FIFA World Cup tournament, so the support is very important because these players are still young and they will really appreciate it, We are on the verge of making history by qualifying for this tournament for the second time,’ said the Bantwana mentor.
Entry to the match is free.
The South Africans won 5-2 in the first leg, with goals coming from Karabo Dlamini, Thambolinye Mzoneli, Miche Minnies, Jessica Wade as well as an own goal by Tshegofatso Mosotho from Botswana.
An overall victory for Bantwana will see them face Morocco in the second and final round, after Equatorial Guinea withdrew from the qualifiers. The next round will be played in February next year.
South Africa had a bye in the first round, while Botswana proceeded to the second round with a 6-5 aggregate win over Zambia.
Zambia won the first leg 5-2, but Botswana turned the tables in the second leg and ran out 4-0 winners – enough to take them to the next round.
The 2018 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup tournament will be played in Uruguay, from 20 November to 13 December.
Africa will be represented by three countries among the 16 that will participate in the competition.
The 2018 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup will be the sixth edition of the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup.
North Korea are the defending champions.
South Africa last qualified for the tournament in 2010 in Trinidad and Tobago under head coach Solly Luvhengo.