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Banyana midfielder Thalea Smidt prepares for a mental battle against the Dutch

Banyana Banyana’s Cape Town-born star central midfielder Thalea Smidt is preparing for a mental battle against the Netherlands. Picture: Safa

Banyana Banyana’s Cape Town-born star central midfielder Thalea Smidt is preparing for a mental battle against the Netherlands. Picture: Safa

Published Apr 8, 2022

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Johannesburg – Banyana Banyana midfielder Thalea Smidt has given insight into the players’ thoughts and how they view their away international friendly match against the Netherlands.

Smidt made her senior national team debut in a friendly encounter against the Copper Queens of Zambia early in February this year and also featured in the AWCON qualifier against Algeria a few days later. She raised her hand after an impressive showing. She has earned a call-up for the international friendly against the Netherlands, on Tuesday.

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Smidt has been impressed by the hard shift from her teammates at training as they prepare for what she believes will be a good test of their mental toughness.

“It feels good to be back in camp," said Smidt. "We had our second training session, and you can already see the difference with the girls pushing, and we are much more shaper than we were when we assembled for previous camps.

“The league has not started yet, but most of us are further into pre-season, and we have been playing friendly matches. This should help us a lot going into our international friendly against the Netherlands.

"However, we should not be thinking too much about not being in the season with our respective teams, and as the coach said, it will be a mental battle at the end of the day. It will be good to test ourselves against the best in the world.

“We also still have our international-based players joining us and most, if not all, are active in their leagues. When they join us, they will boost the team morale and we will be ready to go.”

The senior women’s team have a hectic calendar ahead with AWCON, World Cup and Olympics all being the main targets over time.

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When asked about the hectic football schedule, Smidt highlighted the importance of discipline and time management for footballers.

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“At the end of the day, football is our job. We have to prioritise football, be disciplined and be able to manage what we do during our spare time," said Smidt.

"It is also important to manage yourself as an individual because the medical team is not always around, so you need to take that responsibility.

She also touched on her ambitions of playing in Europe in the future and revealed her desired destination.

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“I would like to play in the big leagues in Europe," said Smidt. "England, Spain and France are some of the leagues that I see myself at.

"I like the French league, and I am a big fan of the PSG style of play. Playing abroad is definitely part of my ambitions, but the focus is the upcoming game against the Netherlands."

Tuesday's match will be played at the ADO Den Haag Stadium in The Hague. The stadium is used mostly for football and field hockey. It is also the home stadium of ADO Den Haag FC.

IOL Sport

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