Thembi Kgatlana will be hoping she will hoping to bolster the Banyana Banyana. Photo: Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Thembi Kgatlana will be hoping she will hoping to bolster the Banyana Banyana. Photo: Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Banyana Banyana get timely boost ahead of Awcon qualifier

By Eshlin Vedan Time of article published Oct 19, 2021

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Durban - Banyana Banyana are boosted by the addition of star players Hilda Magaia and Thembi Kgatlana ahead of their critical Awcon qualifier against Mozambique in Maputo on Wednesday.

Desiree Ellis’ side will be looking to bounce back strongly after the disappointment of finishing fourth in the recent COSAFA Women’s Championship, their worst ever finish in the tournament. In a bid to prevent a repeat of their COSAFA Women’s Cup humiliation, Banyana are set to field a full-strength team for the Awcon qualifiers.

“We arrived safely and came in two batches. Thembi (Kgatlana) and Hilda (Magaia) played for their respective clubs during the weekend and arrive in camp later. The light training session went well and everyone is upbeat and looks forward to the game. We have to make sure that we get a good start,” said Ellis.

ALSO READ: Banyana Banyana name strong squad for Mozambique AWCON qualifier

Banyana can certainly be confident of recording a win in the game against the Mozambicans. They played the same opposition in the COSAFA Women’s Cup earlier this month, recording a 3-1 win with Sibulele Holweni scoring a brace and Melinda Kgadiete scoring once.

“Having played them before in the COSAFA Cup, we know their strengths and weaknesses. I’m confident that they also know about us. We are really looking forward to getting some more training in and we will execute our plans well,” said Ellis.

Mozambique also did not fare well in the COSAFA Women’s Cup. They were last in Group A, having picked up just one point from their three group stage games.

The return leg between Banyana and Mozambique will be played next Tuesday, 26 October at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto.

The rescheduled Awcon is set to take place in July-August 2022, with the initial tournament having been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Banyana Banyana finished as runners-up in the last edition of the Awcon which was held in Ghana back in 2018, with Nigeria winning their 11th title.

Kgatlana was the heroine for the South Africans in that tournament as she finished as the tournament’s top scorer with five goals, also winning the best player award. Should Banyana qualify for the Awcon, a strong showing in the tournament will help them qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup which will be played in Australia and New Zealand.

IOL Sport

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