JOHANNESBURG – While South Africa’s Under-17 women’s coach Simphiwe Dludlu and her technical team are researching Botswana so that they know them better for Friday’s match, the players have been reading up on Uruguay.
Bantwana are in Lobatse to take on Botswana in the first leg of the Under-17 World Cup qualifiers at Lobatse Sports Complex tomorrow at 3pm.
Two rounds stand between Bantwana and a place in the World Cup in Uruguay next year.
But first they have to get past Botswana over two legs, starting tomorrow before hosting the return leg on December 16 at Dobsonville Stadium.
Should they get the better of Botswana, they will face either Equatorial Guinea or Morocco in the last round of qualifiers.
Dludlu and her technical team have not only been sharpening the players’ bodies, but they have also been stimulating their minds.
“I have already tasked them with researching about Uruguay, to get to know the country and their culture,” Dludlu said.
“Their data bundles mustn’t just be for Facebook and all of that. The reason behind making them research about Uruguay is to make them dream big and be motivated to qualify for the World Cup, so that they can see live some of the sights they would have read about.”
Bantwana’s preparations for their match against Botswana have been less than ideal. They didn’t play an international friendly which would have allowed the team to gel to prepare for what will be a tough encounter.
Botswana stunned Zambia 4-0 at home after losing the first leg 5-2 away to book a meeting with South Africa who had a bye in the preliminary round.
“Botswana will come with a lot of confidence because it was a great comeback for them, winning 6-5 on aggregate after they lost away and won at home,” Dludlu said.
“We don’t undermine them one bit because they already have a taste and the feel of hearing their national anthem, and playing in front of their home crowd in an international match.
“Ninety-nine percent of our players have never played an international match. The most important thing is to build the players’ confidence.”