South Africa coach Simphiwe Dludlu says her side will be ready for the start of the COSAFA Women’s Under-17 Championship on Friday as they prepare to travel to Mauritius for the September 20-29 regional showpiece event.
South Africa, who have twice before qualified for the FIFA Women’s Under-17 World Cup, including in Uruguay last year, will be among the favourites to take the title, but will face a bevy of unknown sides with few teams regularly active at this age-group level.
Dludlu watch on as her side beat a Soweto Select 6-0 in a practice match played at the Nike Football Training Centre in Pimville on Sunday, which provided superb preparation for the COSAFA championships. It followed a 3-1 victory over the JVW FC U-17 team, the club that is owned by senior national team skipper Janine van Wyk.
“Considering this is a brand-new team – save for about three players who were previously [here] – certainly we have improved and certainly there are areas where we needed to be tested, but unfortunately it didn’t happen,” Dludlu said. “But I think our structure is quite clear and improving all the time, so that even if we get opponents that are not strong, we should not have a problem of how we capitalise and still keep it simple and yet classy at the same time.
“But we got into the right areas and that makes me happy. Also, it was hot and where we are going, we will face similar conditions, so it was good exposure for us to see how the girls will respond.
“And playing at 13h00 is not easy – but it’s all part of preparations and I believe we got what we wanted in terms of improving our game.”
Dludlu, who led the South Africa side to fourth at the COSAFA Women’s Under-20 Championships last month, has also trimmed her squad down to the required 20 players after naming a provisional selection of 34 players.
SOUTH AFRICA SQUAD:
Karabo Mohale – High Performance Centre (Gauteng)
Luyanda Sibiya – Sunflower FC (KwaZulu Natal)
Shanon Macomo – High Performance Centre (Gauteng)
Ntateko Nkhuna – Mams Ladies FC (Gauteng)
Shakira O’Malley – High Performance Centre (Gauteng)
Philisani Hlela – Cape Town Roses FC (Western Cape)
Mihle Lumko – High Performance Centre (Gauteng)
Olivia Hardie – Randburg FC (Gauteng)
Yolanda Nduli – Sunflower FC (KwaZulu Natal)
Jessica Wade – JVW (Gauteng)
Tiffany Kortjie – Golden Stars (Eastern Cape)
Nelly Gamede – Leandre Ladies FC (Mpumalanga)
Jolaine Mouers – Spurs FC (Western Cape)
Nabeelah Galant – University of Cape Town (Western Cape)
Sonika Mzingeli – Cape Town Roses FC (Western Cape)
Tiyana Carollessen – Vasco Da Gama FC (Western Cape)
Thando Sibanda – Mito Stars FC (Gauteng)
Christy Noble – High Performance Centre (Gauteng)
Inathi Makhayi – Thunderbirds FC (KwaZulu Natal)
Oyisa Marhazi – Eluhulwini FC (Eastern Cape)