National women’s Under-17 team coach Simphiwe Dludlu. Photo: Aubrey Kgakatsi/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – The thought of the national women’s Under-17 team being just one round away from qualifying for the World Cup makes coach Simphiwe Dludlu nervous.

Bantwana moved one step closer to becoming only the second South African women’s side to qualify for the World Cup by beating Botswana 6-4 at Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday.

Bantwana won the two legged affair 11-6 on aggregate to set up a clash with Morocco in the last round of qualifiers in February next year.
Should Bantwana get past Morocco, they will join the Under-17 class of 2010 as the only women’s sides to have qualified for the global showpiece.

“Just thinking about it, I become more nervous,” Dludlu said. “But it’s not fear of the unknown that’s making me nervous.

“It’s positive fear. I fear how my girls are going to surprise me this time when we take on Morocco. “We are excited because this is what we signed up for.
“We have to stay in the kitchen regardless of how hot it is and stay cooking because what will come out will be special.
“We said we wanted to be fit, fresh and ready to conquer the world. That’s us. We are looking forward to playing Morocco.”

Dludlu is confident that her team will book their ticket to Uruguay next month.

But she has to work on their defensive display if they are to get past Morocco.

She aims to prepare better for the crucial match by at least getting one competitive international friendly in the middle of January, something they didn’t get before taking on Botswana even though it was the first taste of international football for the core of the squad.

Despite that they managed to cruise to victory. But the real work starts now as Morocco will offer them a tougher challenge.

“We just need to go back, look at our videos and try to do better,” Dludlu said. “We will look at where we can we improve and how did we concede the goals we conceded against Botswana.

“Is it because we were getting tired, our legs were getting heavy or were we not communicating as a team? We will look at all those things Morocco is going to be a tough opponent.

“Going all the way to North Africa to get a positive result will be a daunting task.

“But we are confident, we believe in ourselves and we fancy our chances because these girls are special.”

The Star

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