26 September 2018 – South Africa’s National U-17 squad (Bantwana) was held to a 1-1 draw by Valencia CF women’s under-20s, following their second friendly match of their Spain tour.

Bantwana coach Simphiwe Dludlu expressed her delight over her charges performances, adding that they held their own against an experienced side which has been playing together for the past five years.

Bantwana’s solitary goal came in the first period of the match through Western Cape based right winger, Ember Edwards. The match took place on Wednesday (26 September 2018) evening.

“I am very proud of the girls,” Dludlu said. “They played according to our instructions and gave it their all in that game. I would like to thank SAFA and LaLiga for making this Spain tour possible for us. It gave us an opportunity to look at new combinations with the players we brought into the squad. This tour also gave us an opportunity to learn to deal with the pressure of having to rest a team while also having to prepare for the next game in a short space of time as well.”

Dludlu added that she would like to play five extra friendly matches before her side jets off to Uruguay for the upcoming FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup which will take place from 13 November to 1 December 2018.

The Bantwana coach believes that having the desired friendlies against other national sides, will play a key role in preparing her charges for the battle which lies ahead.

Bantwana are in Group B, and will lock horns with Mexico, Japan and Brazil in pursuit of reaching the knockout stages of the women’s football world event.

“The plan is to play as many friendlies as possible before we jet off to Uruguay,” Dludlu said. “We really want to do well in that tournament and the only way to see that happing is seeing our girls playing more against competitive sides. We are hoping to play at list five friendly matches against other national teams before the main event. This, I believe, will play a key role in us being readying the squad for World event.”

The South Africans will return home on Friday, 28 September.

They are expected to land at 07h30 at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

NB: SAFA partnered with LaLiga to make this Spain tour for FIFA World Cup-bound Bantwana tour possible.