28 January 2020 – A smile beams across Oratile Mokwena’s face when she speaks about the possibility of playing in her second junior FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament in as short space of two years.
As a matter of fact, the industrious midfielder believes that this current group of the South African U-20 Women’s National Team (Basetsana) players have what it takes to achieve such a historical feat.
Mokwena was part of the South African U-17 Women’s National Team (Bantwana) that featured in the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup tournament, which was held in Uruguay.
And her confidence in this current group of Basetsana players comes from the fact she and her teammates share the same hunger and desire of doing well in the four rounds of the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup qualifiers.
Head coach Jabulile Baloyi’s charges started of the qualifiers on a good note after beating Zambia 2-0 away from home in the preliminary round, first leg tie.
Mokwena, who is a cousin of former Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns star midfielder, Lebohang Mokoena, said that it was very crucial that they finished the job whey they meet again in the return leg on Saturday (1 February) at Orlando Stadium at 15h00.
“Zambia is a very quick side which likes to use both of their wingers to infiltrate their opponents’ defence,” Mokwena said. “This is what we experienced when we played them in the first leg and we were able to manage them really well.
“We have had good sessions with our coaches and they have been very outstanding in getting us ready for this return leg. The overall ambition in this team is to qualify for its first ever FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, and we believe it can be done.”
Mokwena, who also has ambitions of playing abroad and representing her nation at senior level, added that Baloyi is a true delight to work with.
“Coach Jabu has been amazing and I truly enjoy working with her,” Mokwena said. “She always has something fresh to offer to her players and that is what I like about her. I must admit that working with her has helped me to improve certain aspects of my game.
“My dream now is to help this team qualify for this year’s World Cup, possibly earn a move abroad and graduate to the senior national team (Banyana Banyana). That is where I would like to see myself in the coming years.”