13 July 2018 – South Africa’s u17 Women’s National team coach Simphiwe Dludlu said the practice match Bantwana will play against the visiting USA side Goal For Girls at UJ in Auckland Park on Saturday, 14 July will give her charges a good test ahead of BRICS tournament that starts next Wednesday.
The match between Bantwana and the visiting USA Select Side kicks off at 13h00 and members of the public and media are welcome to attend.
The USA side is promoting grassroots football and held a leadership summit in Alex on Wednesday which Dludlu said was quite insightful. From Johannesburg, the USA team will travel to Cape Town where they will undertake the same initiative.
Dludlu said in the match against this Select side from USA, her main objective was for the girls to get the exposure and feeling of playing a different opponent and with this (particular) one because this team is a select side from the USA where they are focussing on growth of the women’s game.
“Basically, for this game, it will serve as preparation for my squad to see the combinations and see how far are we are with the preparations, how ready are we are for the upcoming tournament or playing as a team,” said the Bantwana mentor.
The team is in the second week of its preparations for the BRICS tournament and Dludlu said everything was going according to plan considering they girls had not been in camp for some time and most had been busy with their exams.
“The first week was just a reminder for them that we are back in the team and look at the fitness levels; getting them in sync with each other and for the team spirit; so I think we are getting there.
“I can’t say we are 100 percent because you are never 100 percent as a coach but I am happy with the progress because the bigger picture for us is just not BRICS but the upcoming FIFA u17 World Cup in Uruguay,” said Dludlu who added the team was headed in the right direction.
The coach said the USA team were astute opponents which makes Saturday’s encounter in Auckland Park very important.
She said the BRICS tournament would give her players a chance to measure themselves against opponents from Asia, South America and Europe.
“There is Brazil there in the mix and it would be great to see how the girls would respond to that type of opponents and also to see their standard.
“Of course, we have footage for most of our opponents but it would be good to see them in person so that the girls can see what the level is when they are playing pound to pound against such opponents.”
Dludlu said playing countries within BRICS was important because it would prepare her girls well ahead of the biggest assignment; the FIFA World Cup.