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Basetsana are looking to emulate Banyana and qualify for World Cup
- Updated: October 23, 2015
After an almost 24-hour trip, Basetsana, the South African U20 national women’s side, arrived safely in Abuja, Nigeria where they will face the host nation in the first leg third and final round of the 2016 Papua New Guinea Women’s U20 World Cup qualifier.
The clash will take place at the National Stadium, Abuja on Saturday (kick-off 4pm SA time).
Basetsana left their hotel in South Africa on Wednesday evening and arrived at their base in Abuja early Thursday evening.
Basetsana progressed to this round following wins over Botswana and Zambia, and now face one of the toughest teams in the qualifiers.
‘This is a different match that requires different strategies, said skipper Amogelang Motau. ‘The good thing is that we have played Nigeria before and we sort of know what to expect. They are physical and quick, so we have to play to our strengths and not try to go toe-to-toe with them.
‘They denied us a chance to go to the U20 Women’s World Cup held two years ago in Canada. The first meeting ended in a disappointing 6-0 defeat away, and in the second leg we lost 1-0 at home. The pain is still fresh, but we have had a good run so far in the qualifiers and that gives us the confidence to face them.’
‘We are so close to reaching our dream, just two matches and we are there. But we are well aware that it is going to be a tough day at the office so we will have to double our efforts to ensure we do well in the first leg. A goal will be crucial to give us a fighting chance when we host them in two weeks time.’
Motau admits they had to pull out all stops to go past a resilient Zambia and will take lessons from that encounter.
‘Zambia pushed us to the limit, and we had to deep dig to overcome them. If we have the same fighting spirit against Nigeria I don’t see any reason why we should not return home victorious. Seeing that this is the last round, we are more determined than ever to go all the way,’ said Motau.
She added that they have also been inspired to fight all the way by Banyana Banyana’s qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
‘First of all I would like to congratulate our senior women’s national team for the heroic efforts of qualifying for the Olympics Games for the second time in a row, it clearly shows they are doing something right and indicates growth in women’s football.
‘All the players in the Basetsana squad dream of playing for Banyana Banyana some day and what they have done, beating Equatorial Guinea away and qualifying for Rio, gives us the courage to do well.
‘Whilst we are not putting ourselves under pressure, we would like to emulate them and also qualify for the World Cup, they have really inspired us,’ added the Basetsana captain.
‘They are our heroines. We have also been receiving messages of good luck from them and it’s encouraging and pleasing to know that they are behind us all the way.’
The South Africans return home immediately after the match and are expected to land on Sunday