6 February 2018 – Head coach of the South African U17 Women’s National Team (Bantwana), Simphiwe Dludlu, has admitted to being nervous ahead of the second leg second round clash against Morocco in the 2018 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup qualifiers.
The South Africans have a 5-1 lead following their victory in first leg on Sunday, 4 February 2018 at the Dobsonville Stadium.
The goals came from Karabo Dlamini (2), and one each from Thambolinye Mzoneli, Miche Minnies and Sphumelele Shamase.
The return match will be played on Saturday, 17 February 2018 at Stade Boubker Aamar in Sale, Morocco.
Kickoff is at 14h30 local time (16h30 SA Time).
The overall winner will qualify for the tournament in Uruguay.
With just one match remaining in the qualifiers, Dludlu will not take any chances.
“I am still nervous but it’s good nerves – the kind that say it’s not over yet, the kind that remind us that this is a game of football and it can still be lost there. These are the kind of nerves that remind us to go back to the drawing board to strenghthen what we did right, and improve on what was lacking,” said Dludlu.
“I am not going to be complacent, and the girls will certainly not be complacent – we actually two feet out becuause the opposition can also come up with a good plan to counter ours. We just have to forget about the last match, it’s behind us. We are going to play a new game altogether – yes we put ourselves at an advantge but the results that matter are of the upcoming fixture, nothing else.
Bantwana have been on goal scoring spree since the start of the qualifiers. They put 11 past Botswana in the previous round – five in the first leg and six in the return fixture. They followed it up with another five against Morocco in the first leg – something that gives Dludlu confidence.
“Scoring so many goals says that we are doing something right. I am comfortable with the lead that we enjoy going into the second leg. The goal they scored made us aware of what they are capable of especialy as we will be playing in their backyard. We need to come up with a plan to defuse all of that – and I don’t mean we have to defend the entire match as we might end up scoring own goals, but at the same time we should not be too open and give them a sniff at goal,” added the former Banyana Banyana captain.
She adds that they had to improve on their defence after conceding six against Botswana.
“We made it very difficult for Morocco to score by improving on our defensive responsibilities. Our mission was to defend first, and we knew that if we got that one right then we were well on our way to scoring goals without worrying about conceding. On the other hand, you can defend as much as you can, but if you don’t score goals then you won’t games,” said Dludlu.
In Morocco, Bantwana will be without midfield workhorse Karabo Dlamini who was red carded on Sunday.
“The red card distabilised us a bit, but I believe we have enough cover to draft in someone who we believe will cover that slot without us changing our plans,” she said.
Winger Sphumelele Shamase, who was substituted due to a suspected shoulder injury, is well on her way to recovery. She is being monitored by the medical team.
SA U17 Women’s National Team WC Fixture:
Saturday, 17 February 2018
Morocco vs South Africa
Stade Boubker Aamar
(16h30 SA Time)