Bantwana made history despite heavy losses
It was always going to be difficult for the SA women’s under17 national team to reach the knockout stages or final of the Fifa Under-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay.
It’s now history that Bantwana were part of the World Cup as they were eliminated from the group stages of this girls’ junior football showpiece. The Simphiwe Dludlumentored side arrived back in SA on Friday.
One of the reasons for their failure to negotiate a way to the knockout phase is the unavailability of a professional women’s league in SA while they competed with countries such as Japan and Brazil that have fully fledged professional leagues for ladies.
Having raised expectations by holding Mexico to a 0-0 stalemate in the opener, Bantwana went on to suffer heavy defeats at the hands of Japan (6-0) and Brazil (41), which were the results that sent themhomepacking.
In both these matches, Bantwana showed that SA players still lag behind when it comes to tactical discipline. This was seen by misplacement of passes and committing unnecessary fouls in dangerous areas, among other costly elements.
Nevertheless, every cloud has a silver lining. Bantwana must be applauded for scoring a goal, courtesy of Zethembiso Vilakazi against Brazil in their last match in Uruguay. The goal made history because it was the first time an SA women’s national team scored in a World Cup, across all levels.
In 2010 in Trinidad and Tobago Bantwana didn’t score while the under-20s and Banyana are yet to appear at the global spectacle, having failed to qualify over the years.
Dludlu felt they learnt a lot and values the experience they gained competing with the best teams across the globe.
Bantwana coach Simphiwe Dludlu.