South Africa u17…………(0) 1
(South Africa qualify for the World Cup in Uruguay 6-1 on aggregate)
17 February 2018 – South Africa Women u17 National team booked a place at the FIFA Junior World Cup in Uruguay with an emphatic 6-1 aggregate score over their Moroccan counterpart.
Bantwana had almost but sealed a berth at the world stage after romping to a comfortable 5-1 first leg victory at Dobsonville Stadium two weeks ago and although Morocco showed some fighting spirit at home, the passage to South America was never in doubt.
In a match played at Stade Boubker Ammar, the visitors were always comfortable and could have won by a bigger margin but wasted countless glaring chances in the opening stanza.
Coach Simphiwe Dludlu made two forced changes from the first leg line up, bringing in Khunjulwa Mali and Sibulele Holweni in only two changes from the first leg starting 11.
And it was Holweni whose magical goal separated the two teams in the tightly contested second leg. The goal came midway through the second half although Bantwana finished the stronger of the two in the first half.
Holweni scored in the 68th minute to calm the visitors’ nerves after her long-range shot on a volley gave the Moroccan keeper no chance to all but put Bantwana on the plane to South America.
Just three minutes before the opening goal, Thubelihle Shamase hoofed her shot over the bar when it appeared easier to score than miss. That disappointment was short-lived though as Holweni came to the party with an individual effort to complete a memorable day for the South Africans.
Earlier Thambolinye Mzoneli had disturbed the woodwork with a thunderous shot as the Moroccans continued to live on borrowed life.
The World Cup will take place from 13 November to 1 December in Uruguay.
Meanwhile, SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan has sent his congratulatory message to Bantwana for making the country proud.
“I am really proud of your achievements; going to the FIFA World Cup is the pinnacle of any football player’s achievements and you have done so in style.
I promised you to go to Spain as part of your preparations and this will happen. It is part of us saying thank you and well done,” said Dr Jordaan.