JOHANNESBURG – Jessica Wade, the centreback for the national Under-17 women’s squad (Bantwana), argues that they haven’t qualified for the World Cup just to make up the numbers.
Bantwana, one of the three African representatives - together with Ghana and Cameroon - will be participating at the global showpiece from November 13 - December 1.
They’ve been hard at work as they recently returned from a Spanish trip that saw them hammer UD Levante Under-17 team 4-2 and drawing 1-1 with Valencia CF Under-20 team.
“We are going there to win because we don’t want anything less than that,” Wade said. “Our two matches in Spain were followed by other great training camps where the coach (Simphiwe Dludlu) groomed us tactically and technically.”
Bantwana are in pool B alongside Brazil, Japan and Mexico. They are familiar with the Brazilians having drawn 0-0 with them in the Brics games at Wits University in July.
“Obviously every team that qualifies for the World Cup is good,” Wade said. “We’ve already played Brazil in the Brics games; we’ve also got a friendly with Mexico before the tournament starts. With Japan, the coaches told us they have got information on them. So we will be prepared enough to take on anyone.”
Below: Banyana Banyana skipper Janine van Wyk wishes the Under-18 team well
All the best to our U17 girls says @Banyana_Banyana skipper, @Janinevanwyk5 . @SasolSA @nikefootballza @flysaa @fifinhojane @RhodaMulaudzi @jermaine109 @MaserameLinda @KgatlanaJnr11 pic.twitter.com/7QrSlYTIDZ
This will be Bantwana’s first global showpiece appearance since the 2010 tournament that was held in Trinidad and Tobago. Bantwana crashed out in the first round.
“We are a completely different team,” Wade said, as she shrugged off 2010’s misfortunes. “I think our preparations will help us go further (in the tournament). We are not going to repeat what happened in 2010 - we’ll do better than that. I think we’ve got a great attacking department that can score goals. We scored many goals in the qualifiers.”
The Janine van Wyk (JVW) Girls’ Foundation product says she’s thrilled with how her career has turned-out so far. At just 15 years of age, she didn’t think that she’d be heading to her first World Cup.
They fly out to Uruguay today.
Below: SAFA's Technical Director Neil Tovey wishing Bantwana well
The SA Under-17 women’s squad is:
Kaydee Windvogel, Leigh Brophy, Mananki Makhoana. Lonathemba Mhlongo, Jessica Wade, Yolanda Ntuli, Yenzokuhle Ngubane, Nkateko Nkhuma, Fikile Magama, Oratile Mokwena, Karabo Dhlamini, Serenity Warner, Zethembiso Vilakazi, Miche Minnies, Sphumelele Shamase, Sibulele Holweni, Thubelihle Shamase, Khunjulwa Mali, Chelsea Daniels, Zikhona Nogqala, Amber Edwards