JOHANNESBURG, May 20– The South African national women’s football team has left for Comoros for a Confederation of African Football (CAF) African Women’s Championship firs-leg qualifier with Janine Van Wyk leading the Banyana against the islanders on Friday.
Also in the team which flew out Monday night is veteran Simphiwe Dludlu who won her 50th cap for the national team on Sunday in the 0-1 defeat to Ghana in a warm-up match at Dobsonville Stadium here.
She said she was happy to be back in the team. “It is exciting for me because I was out for three and a half years and now it is even better with a new coach who has a vision and a structure for the team.”
Dludlu said this means more hard work for them and moving a step further to a great path of qualifying for the World Cup. “Football has become part of our lives and we just want to improve and get better.”
Banyana coach Vera Pauw is pleased with the progress the team has made in its defensive structures, despite their loss to Ghana on Sunday. The team used the match as preparation for Friday’s qualifier against the Comoros Islands.
Banyana had not been very convincing in their last two matches. They played to a disappointing draw against Zimbabwe last month.
Pauw cited the weak defence as one of the reasons for the draw against Zimbabwe, but said there was a vast improvement against Ghana.
Pauw said: “The learning curve that we have been busy on is the defensive team organization that was key, and against Zimbabwe, the players and the whole staff knew that there was work to be done there.
“The improvement in Sunday’s game is immense, defensively as well as the play of defence when we win the ball and the moment we lose the ball so that was key for this game.”
Banyana came close to winning the African Women’s championship when they lost to Equatorial Guinea in the final two years ago. Although they qualified for the 2012 London Olympics, becoming the best in Africa and reaching the World Cup are what they are aiming for.
Van Wyk said: “It is any player’s dream to play in the World Cup and we have a great opportunity to get there. First, we have to overcome these small hurdles and overcome the Comoros, head to the AWC and fight a battle to get to the World Cup.”
The second leg qualifier against the Comoros will take place in South Africa in a fortnight’s time.