13 December 2017 – The South African U17 Women’s National Team (Bantwana) held their first training session on Tuesday, 12 December to kickstart preparations for the 2018 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup qualifier against Botswana.

The first round second leg clash takes place on Saturday, 16 December 2017 at the Dobsonville Stadium.

Kickoff is at 15h00.

Entry is free.

The two nations met in the first leg almost two weeks ago (Friday, 1 December 2017) at the Lobatse Sports Complex before taking a break.

South Africa has taken a 5-2 lead.

Interim head coach Simphiwe Dludlu had called up 24 players, but is now left with 23 after Sibulele Holweni of (Sophakama Ladies – Eastern Cape) missed her flight. She has since been left out of the squad.

The players looked energetic at their first training session at the University of Johannesburg Grounds in Soweto.

“They are looking good, but not as sharp as I would like them to because they had a week’s break and some have taken longer to get back into the action. In our first training session we tried to do a lot of coordination and reminded them that we are back to the game again. We haven’t started with the hard work but we already have a proper structure as to what we want to do to prepare for Saturday,” said Dludlu.

“I was impressed with the way they welcomed each other, you could see they are excited to be back together – that is an indication that there are more relationships being built – that’s what I want because a happy team means we can get some work done, so far we are still work in progress.”December). The challenge is that ip that was held in Nelspruit last week (4 – 9   want to do to prepare for Saturdayfrom the Eas

Dludlu is also happy to have all her players back that participated in the 2017 Sasol League National Championship that was held in Nelspruit last week (4 – 9 December).

The players are: Yenzokuhle Ngubane, Yolanda Nduli, Sphumelele and Thubelihle Shamase (all Sunflower FC – KZN); Karabo Dlamini and Oratile Mokwena (both Mamelodi Sundowns – Gauteng), Precious Choshi (Kanatla Ladies – Limpopo); as well as Thembelihle Masibi (De’Scorpion – North West).

The challenge is that when some were resting, these players were playing in the tournament which was won by Bloemfontein Celtic.

“There is a bit of imbalance but the good thing is that the last games for those players was on Thursday, which means they have had some of rest before reporting for national team duty. We are not pushing them too much but we are doing a build up because they have some tight muscles – we are giving them active rest. We are very cautious so as not to overload them but rather work on strength and conditioning, making sure we do recovery/semi-training for them so as to avoid injuries,” added Dludlu.

The 2018 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup will be held in Uruguay from 20 November to 13 December.

This will be the sixth edition of the tournament, and 16 countries will take part in the football showpiece.

The African continent will be represented by three countries.

South Africa last qualified for the tournament in 2010 in Trinidad and Tobago.

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