The South African Under 17 Women’s National Soccer Team (Bantwana) played to a goalless draw against their Ghanaians counterparts in the first leg of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup qualifiers at Sinaba Stadium in Daveyton today (10 March 2012).
The second leg will be played in two weeks time in Ghana, where the winner will qualify for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan which will be played between 18 September and 13 October this year.
South Africa controlled the proceedings from the first whistle but could not convert the chances that came their way.
They had a clear-cut opportunity to open the lead in the 24th minute from a corner kick, but the opposition goalkeeper (Victoria Antwi Agyei) did well to deny them.
The visitors also had some chances of their own and had Bantwana in trouble only for Katlego Moletsane in the South African goals to deny them.
Bantwana head coach head coach Greg Mashilo made two changes in the 46th minute, bringing on Amogelang Motau and Caryn van Reyneveldt for Shenell Jacobs and Thembi Kgatlana respectively.
The start of the second half belonged to Ghana who always looked dangerous on the attack. They kept Moletsane very busy in the first 20 minutes of this stanza.
The FNB-sponsored Bantwana gained their composure in latter stages of the half and could have scored but the visitors were resilient in defence, and when they were breached Agyei came to the rescue.
Despite being disappointed with the result, Mashilo is optimistic about the away leg.
“I was expecting Ghana to play the way they did, but we did not stick to our game plan. I’m not happy that we did not score as we wasted a number of scoring opportunities but I have faith and trust in the girls in the return match. We know now that we are faced with a tougher challenge when we play in their backyard. We need to work extra hard to ensure we return victorious. On the other hand I am excited that we did not concede as that was going to make our job even harder,” said Mashilo.
Head coach of the Ghana, Dramani Mas-Ud Didi, was happy with the performance of his charges.
“We played well against South Africa but they were very good tactically and came at us strongly. They gave us a very strong challenge. I am however impressed with the quality of women’s football on the continent as both sides played good football – it’s just a pity there were no goals. I believe we have an advantage going into the second leg at home. We know what we must do to win and ensure we book ourselves a ticket to Azerbaijan,” said the Ghanaian coach.
Bantwana captain, Nomvula Kgoale is also positive about the match in Ghana.
“This match gave us an insight into what we should expect in the second leg clash. They gave us a tough time, and while we created numerous opportunities we could not find the back of the net, but we should be able to rectify that when we go into camp ahead of the match in Ghana. We understand the importance of qualifying for the World Cup and we will double our efforts towards achieving our goal of playing in Azerbaijan,” said Kgoale.
Katlego Moletsane, Meagan Newman, Thato Letsoso, Tshepo Sekgala, Amanda November, Nomvula Kgoale (c), Kelso Peskin, Chamelle Wiltshire, Mosili Makhoali, Thambi Kgatlana, Shenell Jacobs
Tarryn-Lee Davids, Yvonne Miya, Bongiwe Mkolose, Mavhungu Manyanya, Koketso Mamabolo, Katleho Moleke, Caryn van Ryneveldt, Drishana Pillay, Sareta Mushava, Amogelang Motau
Victoria Antwi Agyei, Fatima Alhassan, Ellen Coleman, Amina Fuseini, Regina Antwi, Laadi Issaka, Naomi Anima, Priscilla Okyere (c), Linda Addai, Sherifatu Sumaila
Ivy Kolli, Rasheda Abdul Rahman, Sawude Issah, Sandra Boakye, Samira Abdul Rahman, Beatrice A Sesu