6 April 2022 – Banyana Banyana midfielder Thalea Smidt has given insight into the players’ thoughts and how they view their away international friendly match against the Netherlands.

Smidt made her senior national team debut in a friendly encounter against the Copper Queens of Zambia early in February this year and also featured in the AWCON qualifier against Algeria a few days later. She raised her hand after an impressive showing and earned the call-up to the friendly encounter against the Netherlands, to be played on 12 April 2022.

Speaking after the team’s second training session at Highlands Park today, the player was impressed by the hard shift from her teammates as they prepare for what she believes will be a good test of their mental toughness.

“It feels good to be back in camp. We had our second training session today and you can already see the difference with the girls pushing, and we are much more shaper than we were when we  assembled for previous camps”, said Smidt.

“The league has not started yet, but most of us are further into pre-season and we have been playing friendly matches. This should help us a lot going into our International friendly against the Netherlands. However, we should not be thinking too much about not being in season with our respective teams, and like the coach said, it will be a mental battle at the end of the day and it will be good to test ourselves against the best in the world.

“We also still have our international-based players joining us and most, if not all, are active in their leagues, and when they join us they will boost the team morale and we will be ready to go.”

The senior women’s team have a hectic calendar ahead with the AWCON, World Cup and Olympics all being the main focus.

When asked about finding a balance between family and a hectic football schedule, Smidt highlighted the importance of discipline and time management for footballers.

“At the end of the day football is our job and we have to prioritise football, be disciplined and be able to manage what we do during our spare time. It is also important to manage yourself as an individual because the medical team is not always around, so you need to take that responsibility,” continued Smidt.

She also touched on her ambitions of playing in Europe in the future and revealed her desired destination.

“I would like to play in the big leagues in Europe. England, Spain and France are some of the leagues that I see myself at. I like the French league and I am a big fan of the PSG style of play. Playing abroad is definitely part of my ambitions but the focus is the upcoming game against the Netherlands,” she concluded.