Scramble for Africa title
Kgadiete reckons Banyana’s friendly in Accra on Sunday will be serious stuff in build-up to Cup of Nations
Banyana Banyana forward Melinda Kgadiete from Mdantsane says their friendly encounter against Ghana in Accra on Sunday will give them much-needed insight on what to expect at the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations tournament.
The African Women’s football showpiece scheduled for Ghana from November 17 to December 1 is also a 2019 Fifa Women World Cup qualifier. The teams ending in the top three positions in Ghana, will go on to represent the African continent at the World Cup in France in June 2019.
Banyana have been drawn in Group B for the Cup of Nations that also comprises defending champions Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia.
Kgadiete said they were looking forward to the friendly encounter against the host nation as it would set the tone for the tournament.
“The good thing is that we are still oozing with confidence, after having defended our Cosafa championship title.
“Plus last month we were in Chile to play friendly games, and I think we did okay there considering the fact that Chile is one of the most competitive sides in the world.
“They [Chile] are a big team and they’ve already qualified for the World Cup, so that tells you that they’re a high quality team.
“And I think we did well for ourselves there, because we lost 2-1 during the first encounter and then in the last game we drew. So that’s not bad for us at all, playing a team that’s already qualified for the World Cup,” Kgadiete told the Dispatch.
In June the player sustained a knee injury. “I was out of action for a month, so I had to spend two weeks recovering. I was panicking because an injury can make you fall behind in terms of fitness.
“That’s why I even dropped out of the Cosafa tournament. That hurt me but I knew I had to focus on getting better.
“But now I’m fully recovered and I’m glad the coach thought of me and I understood her when she dropped me for the Cosafa tournament because there were players in better shape than I was.’’
The Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies attacker said her goal was to make it into the national team so she could get more game time.
“Our goal as a team is to win more silverware and to qualify for the World Cup, because if we are in the top three, we’ll automatically qualify for the World Cup.
“And I’m confident that I will make a valuable contribution. I know I have never played against those teams in our group, but in the U20 team I’ve played against Nigeria and they were good.
“But we’ve been doing our research these teams and we have planned them.”
2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations Banyana fixtures:
Nigeria v Banyana (3.30pm, Nov 18, Cape Coast). Kenya v Banyana (6.30pm, Nov 21, Cape Coast) Banyana v Zambia (4pm, Nov 24, Accra Stadium). on for
MATCH SHARP: Melinda Kgadiete of Banyana says their friendly against Ghana on Sunday will hold them in good stead for the Women’s Cup of Nations tournament