Bant­wana ooze con­fi­dence ahead of Brazil match

U-17 girls leave early to adapt for World Cup

Sunday World - - Sport - By Sihle Nde­bele

South African Un­der-17 women’s team de­fender Jes­sica Wade is op­ti­mistic that they will make the na­tion proud at the U-17 Fifa World Cup in Uruguay.

Yes­ter­day, Bant­wana left South Africa shores for Uruguay. Coach Sim­phiwe Dludlu said the rea­son they de­cided to leave early was that they wanted to ac­cli­ma­tise to the Uruguayan en­vi­ron­ment.

Bant­wana kick off their World Cup fi­nals cam­paign on Novem­ber 13 with their opener against Mex­ico in Group B. Brazil and Ja­pan are other na­tions in Bant­wana’s group.

Ad­dress­ing the me­dia be­fore their de­par­ture Wade, a tough-tack­ling cen­tre­back with agility and tac­ti­cal aware­ness, showed a lot of con­fi­dence and readi­ness for this women’s ju­nior foot­ball global show­piece.

“The way we’ve pre­pared makes us be­lieve that we are ca­pa­ble of mak­ing the na­tion proud at the World Cup,” said a serene 15-year-old Wade.

In their World Cup prepa­ra­tions, Dludlu’s troops par­tic­i­pated in the Brics Games where they notably held Brazil to a 0-0 draw on home soil. Bant­wana also out­shone China and In­dia while manag­ing an­other stale­mate against Rus­sia in July.

“We learnt a lot of lessons from the Brics Games. We were for­tu­nate to taste our cre­den­tials against Brazil be­cause we are in the same group at the World Cup.

“We are aware of their at­tack­ing foot­ball and skil­ful play­ers, but we also have enough qual­ity to fight for our coun­try,” noted Wade.

Bant­wana also played with some Span­ish clubs dur­ing their eight-day trip to Spain as they were con­tin­u­ing with their World Cup prepa­ra­tions. They clashed with teams like Va­len­cia and Le­vante, among oth­ers.

“We are def­i­nitely a team to be reck­oned with. We have been to­gether for a long time. The mood is amaz­ing among us as play­ers,” said Wade, who’s in the books of JVW Girls Foot­ball Club in Bed­ford­view.

/ Syd­ney Seshibedi / Gallo Im­ages

Un­der-17 de­fender Jes­sica Wade.

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