Girls seek friendly revenge

2017-01-18 12:47
Banyana Banyana midfielder Amanda Dlamini replaces injured Nompumelelo Nyandeni for the national side in Sunday’s friendly international against France.

Banyana Banyana midfielder Amanda Dlamini replaces injured Nompumelelo Nyandeni for the national side in Sunday’s friendly international against France. (Gallo Images)

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Banyana Banyana midfielder Amanda ‘Toki’ Dlamini has admitted that France are going to be a hard nut to crack, and warned her team-mates that they must be fully focused when they meet in an international friendly match on the weekend.

The match will take place on Sunday in Saint-Denis, Reunion Islands, and is scheduled to start at 7 pm. 

The 28-year-old, who was called up as a replacement for the injured Nompumelelo Nyandeni, called on her teammates to improve defensively, also revealing that they are confident of overcoming whatever challenges the French pose.

“Obviously we still have a lot to improve on. I think the tactical discipline, pacing ourselves in the game and just working in transition are some of the things that we’ve been working on in practice. 

“We will be prepared for whatever is thrown at us. We’re really looking forward to the friendly game,’’ she told The Witness on Tuesday.

With France obvious favourites to win the encounter, the South Africans have vowed to fight with all they have as they seek to avenge the 3-2 defeat they suffered against the Europeans back in 2009. 

The JVW FC player, who last represented the national team at the Rio Olympics, believed playing against top ranked countries would help the national team improve. 
“I think the greatest highlight is the fact that we’ve caught so much attraction from international countries, like in Europe. 

“It’s a massive confidence booster for the team to know that the work and effort we put in and the good football we display — that there are people watching us, people who can help us improve.

“If we can do that consistently, there’ll be more teams like Sweden and Germany that would want to play national games with Banyana Banyana,’’ she added.

The experienced midfielder — who was confident that her experience would play a crucial role in Desiree Ellis’ team, said it was now time for the country’s star-studded squad to stand up and be counted.

“Being called to be part of the national senior team is always an honour. I think for me it’s exciting to be back. 

“But, obviously it’s unfortunate that we’ve lost Mpumi [Nompumelelo Nyandeni] due to injuries who was just as experienced. It’s years and years of hard work that’s got me here. 
“One has to be consistent to get the call-up for such a long time. 

“I’m just really focusing on the game at hand and pushing myself at training,’’ she concluded. 

Ellis’ charges will also be without the services of goalkeeper Roxanne Barker, who dropped out due to an injury, and has been replaced by Kanatla Ladies shot-stopper Monnye Theledi. 

They depart for Reunion Islands tomorrow, and will return on Monday,  January 23. 

The French women’s national team are ranked third in the world and second in Uefa behind Germany, while South Africa are ranked fourth on the continent and 48th in the world.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  banyana banyana

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