Bant­wana made his­tory de­spite heavy losses

Sunday World - - Sport - By Sihle Nde­bele

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.

/ Namhla Mph­elo

Bant­wana coach Sim­phiwe Dludlu.

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