MONTEVIDEO – SA women’s Under-17 coach Simphiwe Dludlu says her charges will be looking to compete for top honours in the Under-17 World Cup starting on November 13 in Uruguay.
Bantwana who held training camps in Spain and at home before flying out of the country on Saturday, arrived in Uruguay on Sunday morning. SA are the first team in the tournament to arrive in the host country, and Dludlu believes that would play in their favour.
“The plan is to be the first in and the last out,” said Dludlu. “We are visionaries, hope does not kill and that’s what we want to do. Good preparation doesn’t guarantee success, however, it gives you a better chance to succeed that is why we came early.
“It gives us a chance to mark our territory as early as possible and that’s very critical. Above all, to be able to dream when you are in a place, to see it, touch it, feel it and get to smell everything makes the dream become more vivid, so that’s the whole point for us arriving early.”
The coach has a strong supporting staff which includes assistant coach Maud Khumalo, the coach of the women’s Under-20 team and men’s Under-20 coach Thabo Senong who is serving as an advisor.
The team notably also has a performance analyst Phuphu Mohlaba and an opposition scout Tiro van Rooyen.
This is the second time Bantwana have qualified for the World Cup, having done so in 2010 when they crashed out in the group stages.
“The biggest person who sat down with us to say, we can can do it and we stand a better chance this time, was Fran Hilton-Smith who was a team manager in that previous team,” said Dludlu.
“When she looked at us, she said the girls that were in the 2010 team didn’t stand chance because of a lack of adequate preparation - something which has been addressed with this group with all the camps held in Spain as well as in the country,.”
The team will play their first match on November 13 against Mexico at 10pm SA Time and the match will be broadcast on SuperSport.
African News Agency (ANA)