Bantwana back from England with their head held high

By FOCUS REPORTER

NATIONAL Under-17 women’s team, Bantwana returned from a training camp in Birmingham, England on Saturday with their head raised high after a resounding friendly international match.

The camp in England form part of their preparations for the forthcoming FIFA Under 17 Women’s World Cup scheduled for Trinidad and Tobago from September 5 – 25 this year.

Bantwana played two friendly international matches against their England counterparts, winning the first match 4-1 before they could settle for a 1-1 draw in the second match.

Back home, the team was welcomed by the SA Football Association (Safa)’s vice president Mandla “Shoes” Mazibuko who congratulated them on a job well done away from home and wished them luck in the World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago.

“On behalf of the association and the football-loving people of South Africa, welcome home. I just want to say to the entire delegation well done you have all done us proud in England and we are hoping that you can take this winning streak with you to the World Cup. You were good ambassadors of this country and flew the flag very high and for that we are forever grateful,” said Mazibuko who also encouraged the team to take a good rest as there is a long road ahead as they prepare for the world cup.

Care-taker coach, Solly Luvhengo believes the England camp was a success. He also thanked SAFA and sponsors FNB for their continued support.

“I am satisfied with the overall performance of the girls while in England and in my view the camp was a success. The two matches we played have given us an indication of where to rectify and improve, so it was a good experience. Looking at the results, the first match might look as if it was easy but we were just superior to our opponents, in the second one I gave a few others a chance to play and they still managed to do well, so I am happy with the outing it was a worthwhile exercise. We return with a lot of positives and now we know which direction to take to tackle this upcoming tournament,” said Luvhengo.

He added South Africa remains a closed book as this is their first World Cup tournament.

“Nobody knows us and that could be an advantage for us. But on the other hand you never know how good or bad you are until you play a match in the actual tournament, so the first match will be very crucial and that is a must-win for us if we are to have any hopes of progressing in the tournament. In the group stages we will be facing Korea who are the defending champions and that will be a very tough match, but then again, if you want to be the best you have to play and beat the best,” said Luvhengo.

The team will reassemble again on Thursday, August 26 for their final preparations and departs for Trinidad and Tobago on Monday, 30 August 2010.

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