9 August 2019 Simphiwe Dludlu, caretaker coach of the South African U20 Women’s National Team (Basetsana) for the 2019 COSAFA U20 Women’s Championship, has commended the organisers of the tournament for introducing the competition.

Dludlu believes that this will play a huge role in developing southern African women’s football and ensure that the region can produce players who have the ability to play in the world’s best leagues.

The former Banyana Banyana captain and left back is currently the head coach of the South African U17 Women’s National Team, and has participated in the COSAFA Cup during her playing days.  She states that the introduction of the youth teams COSAFA tournaments is long overdue and beneficial to women’s football.

“I want to thank COSAFA for this milestone. I am honoured to have been part of the inaugural U20 COSAFA Cup. I really commend them for this initiative and believe that our region’s football can only improve from here on. These tournaments play a very significant role in the development of a player,” said Dludlu.

“With players getting International experience at a younger age (u17 and u20), we are fast-tracking their development and allowing them to become international quality much younger than back in our day.”

Dludlu led the U17 National Team at the 2018 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay, and learnt a lot from the tournament.

“Having coached at the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup last year, we picked up on many issues that Africa still lags behind from the rest of the world on many aspects, so tournaments such as the COSAFA Championships will assist in getting us to elite football, elite professionalism and eventually playing world class football quicker,” added Dludlu.

South Africa missed out on a spot in the final of the 2019 COSAFA U20 Women’s Championship after going down 2-0 to a much stronger Tanzania side in the semifinals – it was their first loss in the tournament.

Basetsana will now face Zimbabwe in the 3rd/4thplace play off on Saturday, 10 August 2019 at Wolfson Stadium.

Kickoff is at 11h00.

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