15 February 2018 – The South African U17 Women’s National Team (Bantwana) held their first training in Morocco ahead of their 2018 FIFA U17 World Cup qualifier scheduled for Saturday, 17 February 2018 at Stade Boubker Aamar in Sale.
This will be the second leg of the second round of the qualifiers.
Bantwana captain, Kaylin Jordaan, has assured South Africans that they will return triumphant from their mission in North Africa.
The South Africans arrived in the country on Wednesday morning (14 February) and managed to slip in a light training session in the afternoon.
Today (Thursday, 15 February 2018) they held their first full training session at the match venue. There is still one more session left before the big match at the weekend, which the captain say they are ready for.
“I see it as a challenge because they have homeground advantage but I believe the team will qualify and go to the world cup. As a captain, however, I am very nervous as I don’t know what to expect from Morocco. I believe they have been studying us after the first leg, but also I am excited that we will qualify for the world cup,” said Jordaan.
“I would like to say to the South Africans back home, we are going to qualify for the world cup and we will do everything in our power to make sure that we make them proud and make them believe that we can do it. While we are positive, we must always expect the unexpected and I know it is going to be a tough game, but I also know the girls are prepared for anything that comes our way. The truth is my heart is in Uruguay, but my mind is on the match on Saturday. I am looking forward to going to the world cup,” added Jordaan.
With a 5-1 lead from the first leg, the captain says they would like to go for more goals to just to make sure of qualification.
“Most of the time we sit with the other girls and talk about our celebrations, we also talk about the team spirit, which is the most important thing. We have also been strategising about our defence because we know Morocco is going to go all out as they have nothing to lose. We are also focused on attacking as we don’t want to leave it at 5-1, we want to go beyond that.”
The captain is one of the most experienced players in the Bantwana team as she was part of the U20 squad that missed out on a World Cup spot recently, after going down to Nigeria.
“That outing helped a lot because during those matches I realised that it was not going to be easy, its going to be hard and one needed to have the mental strength and stability to deal with everything,” said Jordaan.
South Africa is one of three African nations battling for a spot at the 2018 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup, scheduled for 13 November to 1 December in Uruguay.
The others are Ghana who take on Djibouti, as well as Cameroon who will host Nigeria.
Both matches will also be played this weekend.
Winners of second round will represent Africa at the World Cup tournament.