JOHANNESBURG - South Africa Under-17 women’s football team coach, Simphiwe Dludlu, believes that doing the basics - especially defensively - will yield a positive outcome when they host the third edition of Brics Games. This tournament, which consists of the world’s leading emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) is set be held at Wits University Campus from Tuesday to July 22.
“We are looking at improving on our defending more than anything," Dludlu said. “Defending is not the easiest of jobs but we’ll do our best to keep working on it. One other thing is that the girls have been away from each other for more than two weeks, so our preparatory sessions have been about getting them back to tune and reminding each other of how we play as a team. As we are going into the tournament as hosts, we want to cover our basics as much as we can."
Although the motto of this year’s tournament is to commemorate the centenary of struggle icons Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu’s legacy; Bantwana also have their unique agenda. Unlike their involvement in the previous two campaigns that were staged in India and China, they’ll use the competition to prepare for this year’s Fifa Under-17 World Cup that will be take place in Uruguay from November 13 - December 1.
Moreover, during the Brics Games, Bantwana will also get a chance to do their homework on South American side Brazil, whom they’ll meet in the World Cup group stages on November 20 at Estadio Charrua in Montevideo. That is after they've had a taste of the World Cup against Mexico and Japan on November 13 and 16 respectively, at the Estadio Domingo Burgueno in Maldonado. The Alexander-born coach is optimistic that competing against the Brics nations will bring the exposure that they need going into the global showpiece.
“This is definitely the platform that we will use to prepare for the World Cup, as we will not only be competing against African teams," she insisted. “Although we are not sure as to whether they’ll bring their best players but we cannot turn a blind eye to the exposure that it will bring. I also do not think that it will bring exposure only to the girls but to everyone involved in this team as we prepare for the World Cup."
Meanwhile, Karabo Dhlamini, who’s already a Banyana Banyana international, will be expected to use her experience to guide her teammates during this tournament.