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Motau urges ‘tiny’ teammates on in their push for 2016 World Cup
- Updated: October 15, 2015
Captain Amogelang Motau has urged her Basetsana teammates to do more of the same when they take on Nigeria in the next phase of their bid to qualify for the 2016 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea.
Motau was reflecting on the team’s hard-fought 3-2 win over Zambia in the second round of qualifiers in Tembisa last week.
‘It was a great result that we got, and I think we deserve it because we really fought hard. I just want to give credit to my coach and teammates for working to the last minute to achieve this victory. This game demanded a lot of mental strength and that’s what we had on the day, also the desire to win.
‘Each and every time they came at us we were willing to defend so that we do not concede more goals because we knew that if they scored a goal we needed to score too as we were playing at home. I think we handled the pressure well,’ said Motau, who worked her socks off in the middle of the park.
But she admits that they had a scare when the scores were level at 2-2.
‘What went through my mind at that point was that we needed to fight, I kept on saying to myself our journey can’t be over now. I encouraged my teammates, and reminded them that at that point it was not about individuals but about the whole team. I kept thinking if I could get everyone to be at their optimum strength then we can win this game. And I kept saying to them its not over until its over, at the end it worked for us,’ added Motau.
The victory was particularly satisfying for South Africa as it was Zambia that stopped them dead in their tracks to qualify for the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup last year. The first leg had ended 3-3 in Lusaka only for home team to lose 1-3 in the return leg in Johannesburg.
‘It’s sweet revenge and very pleasing because in that U17 match I was also the captain of the team. I took a lot of experience out of that game to use into this latest clash against Zambia. I think we did really well. Now up next is Nigeria and all we have to do is to keep on working hard. I have tiny “animals” in my team and we can only succeed and achieve our dreams with hard work and the desire to win,’ said the Basetsana captain.
Motau worked tirelessly with fellow midfielder Thalea Smidt to thwart any attack from Zambia and Smidt said it was nerve-wracking. ‘When it was 2-2 we almost lost our heads and we wanted that goal, we wanted to be in the lead. We encouraged each other to push more, we all showed eagerness to get the third goal and we managed to get it and we were able to hold on. I am very happy for the team.’
‘It was a vey scary situation every time they scored because it meant we were chasing and we all know if the match had ended at 1-1 or 2-2 we would not have made it so that is why we kept on pushing until the very end.’
She is also looking forward to the clash against Nigeria.
‘We will go back to the drawing board and make some improvements where we need to. We will train harder and prepare well for Nigeria. The team will go there with the same attitude and objective as we had in the Zambia match because we have one goal, and that is to get to Papua New Guinea. The aim is to go out there and give our all,’ added Smidt.
South Africa and Nigeria meet over the weekend of 23-25 October.