18 September 2018 – Head of the South African U17 Women’s National Team, Simphiwe Dludlu, believes that her squad’s tour of Spain will play a key role in measuring how far they are in getting ready for this year’s FIFA Under-17 Women World Cup.

The FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup will be played in Uruguay from 13 November to 1 December 2018.

Bantwana will fly out to Spain on Thursday, 20 September where they are scheduled to play two friendly matches against UD Lavante Under-17s and Valencia CF Under-20s, before they return back to South Africa on 30 September 2018.

Dludlu said she wanted to thank SAFA for partnering with LaLiga to make this tour possible, adding that the tour will provide her side with the needed test as the build-up to this year’s FIFA U17 World Cup.

“We are scheduled to play two friendly matches against developmental teams of two top sides plying their trade in Spain’s Women First Division,” said Dludlu.

“We are expecting a very tough battle from both of them because of the kind of competitiveness they are exposed to in their respective leagues. We are expecting structure, speed and a bit of skill in their play when they play against us but we are up to the challenge.”

The former Banyana Banyana defender says that she would love her side to play as many friendly matches as possible before they jet off to Uruguay for the main event as this will help them to get ready for their group.

Bantwana are in Group B, together with Mexico, Japan and Brazil in the FIFA World Cup.

“We have short players in our squad, and I always emphasise that we must always fight to keep possession as much as possible and attack whenever the time is right to do so. We must know how to absorb pressure and utilise counter-attacks at any given situation,” said Dluidlu.

The Bantwana coach said she always reminds her players that they will be playing against sides who are of the same age group as them and that they should never feel intimidated.

“I also make them aware that it is not going to be easy; however, this is an opportunity for them to make history. I am not promising South Africans that we will reach the final but we need to take it one game at a time with the aim of winning every match we participate in,” she concluded.