The South African Women’s National Teams – Banyana Banyana and Basetsana – are standing at the gates of glory.

The South African Women’s National Teams – Banyana Banyana and Basetsana – are standing at the gates of glory.

The u20 Women’s National Team (Basetsana) is currently in camp to prepare for the clash against Zambia this weekend in a 2nd Round u20 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Papua New Guinea 2016 Qualifiers while Banyana Banyana assembles next week to start preparations for a date with Equatorial Guinea in a 2016 Rio Olympic Games qualifier.

Should Basetsana go past Zambia in a home and away basis, they will proceed to the last round of qualifiers – possibly against Nigeria. The Senior Women’s National Team are in the final round of qualification and victory against Equatorial Guinea will see them make their second appearance in the Olympics – they were at the London Games in 2012.

SAFA Media spoke to the SAFA Technical Director – Women’s Football, Fran Hilton-Smith before she left for a FIFA meeting in Zurich this past weekend.

Matlhomola Morake: What is the meeting all about Fran?

Fran Hilton-Smith: I am a member of the organising committee of the u20 FIFA Women’s World Cup, so the meeting is about the finalization of the tournament that is taking place in Papua New Guinea next year. We are going to conclude arrangements around the world cup, and I am hoping our team Basetsana will qualify to be present at that world cup.

MM: Your presence there, how will if help our Basetsana team, if at all?

FHS: The meeting gives us an insight into the planning of the world cup – where the facilities will be, where the venues will be – so that we can ensure that we do proper preparation and planning for the world cup so that our team can succeed, given of course that they have qualified. We have a lot of players who have come up from the u17 who previously played against these strong opponents like Zambia and Nigeria so we think that we have a team that can go all the way.

MM: How important is this match against Zambia?

FHS: This is a very crucial match. Zambia qualified for the last World Cup at u17 level, so most likely all the players from that squad will have graduated to the u20 team which means they have all the experience under their belt, so our players really need to go out there and give their all because we are expecting a very tough encounter this weekend.

MM: What do you make of playing the first leg away?

FHS: It is much better for us to play the first leg away, but then we have to score goals – which has been a problem with most of our teams, we are not scoring as much as we should and that is the priority – we need a victory away to return home with our confidence high.

MM: Looking at Banyana Banyana, they also have a tough match…

FHS: Another crunch game for our girls – Equatorial Guinea is very strong, they knocked out Nigeria in the previous round of the qualifiers and they have many foreign-based players. Again we have to go out there and get a victory against them because they are the stumbling block for us to get to Rio. We have been to the Olympic Games before and we want to be there again to make our second appearance. I know the coach will prepare thoroughly for that encounter, and fortunately we have just returned from the African Games in Congo, Brazzaville where were played three matches (including a 0-0 draw friendly against Tanzania) and Equatorial Guinea was not there, so we hope it gives us a bit of an edge but as I say with their foreign contingent it is going to be a very tough game.

MM: So in simple terms, it is crunch time for our ladies?

FHS: Yes, this is it for our women’s national teams – IT’S CRUNCH TIME. This year we can qualify for the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup, and everything is being done by the South African Football Association to support the teams – they have the best that can be given so we really hope that we can qualify for both events, and this will mark one of the greatest years for our football.

Basetsana and Banyana Banyana fixtures:

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Zambia vs South Africa

2nd Round

u20 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Papua New Guinea 2016 Qualifiers


Nkoloma Stadium, Lusaka


Saturday, 3 October 2015

BANYANA BANYANAvs Equatorial Guinea

4th Round CAF Women’s Olympic Qualifiers


Makhulong Stadium, Tembisa


 Saturday, 10 October 2015

South Africavs Zambia

2nd Round u20 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Papua New Guinea 2016 Qualifiers


Makhulong Stadium, Tembisa


17/18th October 2015

Equatorial Guinea vs BANYANA BANYANA

Fourth and Final Round CAF Women’s Olympic Qualifiers