The South African u20 Women’s National Team, Basetsana, have safely arrived back in the country from Zambia.
Basetsana played to a goalless draw with junior She-polopolo in a 2016 Papua New Guinea u20 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier at the Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka on Sunday, 27 September.
South Africa’s head coach Elisabeth Migchelsen is confident her young squad will come out tops in the home leg scheduled for Saturday, 10 October 2015 at the Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa.
Kickoff is at 15h00.
“We fought very hard as a team, we played as a team and that is a big compliment for these players. Zambia was very physical, but that is something we expected. We tried to play to our strengths of keeping the ball but they did not let us play,” said Migchelsen.
“It was a bit tough for our players to play under such physical pressure. My players needed to make quicker decisions on and off the ball and play long balls instead of our usual short passing. Also Zambia’s experience from the world cup showed on the field, when we struggled they just kept on going.”
The squad will take a week’s break before they are back in camp to prepare for the return leg.
Migchelsen is also not fazed about what happened when the two nations met in an u17 World Cup qualifier in 2014.
“That Zambia and South Africa played a draw in Lusaka in the first leg and won the return match 3-1 doesn’t bother me. As far as I am concerned it’s all in the past. We will prepare for the second leg as though as we are starting a new game. We are ready for them, the second leg starts with 0-0 and then we will have to see the result after 90 minutes. We don’t feel any pressure because we played to a goalless draw yesterday,” she concluded.
Basetsana captain Amogelang Motau, who was a livewire in the middle of the park, believes even with their physical superiority, the Zambians will not emerge victorious in South Africa.
“If the biggest animal in the jungle is the king, then the elephant would be the king of the jungle but we all know the lion is the king of the jungle – so we may be very small and they may be bigger than us and physical, but it is all about who wants it more, and I believe our mental strength will take us through. When they come to South Africa, Zambia should be ready for another fight and they should expect far more than what we put up in Lusaka,” said Motau.
Zambia’s coach Osward Mutapa concurs.
“It was a very tough game. Technically, the South Africans were better than us but we played to our strength, which was power. Our game was one of physique and we did just that. We created a lot of chances but unfortunately we could not convert them. We knew it will be a tough encounter and the good thing is that we haven’t conceded. Like the South African captain said, it will be a battle in the return leg,” said Mutapa.
In the last round, Zambia failed to score against Tanzania in the first leg in Zambia, but managed to find the net in the second leg.
“Each and every game is different but history speaks for itself – we scored four away in Tanzania and hopefully we will score some goals in South Africa. We created a lot of chances and based on that we are positive of the outcome in two weeks time. What we wanted was not to concede, which we managed to do, but had we scored it would have been much better. We are comfortable with the situation as it is,” added Mutapa.
His words were echoed by one of his players, Esther Mukwasa.
“South Africa is not an easy team, they are quite tough actually. But I believe and trust in my fellow players that the journey is not over yet – in fact it has just begun. I promise that in our away match we will get goals, more so because we are at an advantage as we did not concede. We saw that South African defence is not very dangerous but just that our strikers were very slow on the day,” said Mukwasa.
Meanwhile South Africa is nursing a few injury concerns.
Goalkeeper Mapaseka Mpuru suffered an ankle sprain, Chamelle Wiltshire has a calf muscle strain, Lelona Daweti is suffering from a hamstring strain, and Bongeka Gamede has a knee sprain while Tiisetso Makhubela has a troublesome groin. Gamede and Daweti had to be substituted in the match.