The South Africa Under-17 Girls National soccer team booked a place at the FIFA Junior World Cup in Uruguay this weekend, with an emphatic 6-1 aggregate score over their Moroccan counterparts.
Bantwana had all but sealed a berth at the world stage after romping to a comfortable 5-1 first leg victory at Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto two weeks ago.
Although Morocco showed some fighting spirit at home, the passage to South America was never in doubt for the South Africans.
In a second leg match played at Stade Boubker Ammar, the 30-year-old Bantwana coach, Simphiwe Dludlu, made two forced changes from the first leg line up, bringing in Khunjulwa Mali and Sibulele Holweni.
And it was Holweni’s magical goal that separated the two teams in the tightly contested second leg.
Coach Simphiwe Dludlu is over the moon with her team’s achievement.
Bantwana coach Simphiwe Dludlu says, “The results for us is seeing women football grow in South Africa, mass participation is what we are looking forward to. So, South Africa, this is not the beginning, but the continuation of where we come from.”
The former Banyana Banyana Captain has made history by becoming the first former player of the South African women’s senior national team to take her country to the World Cup.
Bantwana first made an appearance at the world football spectacle in 2010, where they only played in the group stages before being sent home packing.
Bantwana’s 2010 generation was coached by Solly Luvhengo, while Joseph Mkhonza and Dutch coach Vera Pauw guided Banyana to the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, respectively.
Bantwana’s captain, Kaylin Jordaan, is keen to play in the tournament that will be staged in Uruguay in November.
“Qualifying for the World Cup is a huge achievement for us. We had a motto that keeps us going which says, ‘be fresh, be fit and ready to conquer the world.’ We haven’t conquered the world yet, but we have conquered our goal and purpose.”
The South African Football Association is making strides towards achieving one of its Vision 2022 goals of seeing all national teams qualifying for major tournaments.
Safa’s Danny Jordaan says, “In this period, we’ve seen qualifications for each and every one of our junior teams. It is a significant achievement. Now, we look for the preparation phase from now that qualification is assured into the final tournament in Uruguay.”
Meanwhile, at the Premier Soccer League offices in Parktown, Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic of Orlando Pirates was announced as January’s Coach of the Month.
Tiyani Mabunda of Mamelodi Sundowns took home the goal of the month award while Maritzburg United midfielder Sphesihle Ndlovu went away with the Player of the Month award.
The 21-year-old Ndlovu is the first ever player in Maritzburg United’s history to win the accolade.
Click video below: