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'we lost fair and square'

By unknown | Jun 17, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

For a change, Fran Hilton-Smith, Basetsana manager, did not complain about anything after their defeat by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Saturday.

The South Africans were brushed aside 2-0 by the determined Congolese side in the final leg of the Women's Under-20 World Cup qualifier at Stade de Matyrs in Kinshasa.

The goals, which once more ended Basetsana's hopes of making a historic debut at the World Cup finals, came from Ivonne Malembo, who struck in each half.

Basetsana beat the DRC 3-1 in the first leg in Pretoria on May 31 and many South Africans were convinced that they would shine in Kinshasa but that was never to be.

Saturday's result saw history repeat itself after Basetsana were beaten 1-0 at the same stage of the competition in Kinshasa in 2006.

Basetsana had beaten the DRC 2-1 in the first leg in Pretoria but allowed complacency to creep in in the second leg.

Basetsana attributed the 2006 loss to, among other things, poor refereeing.

But this time around Hilton-Smith admitted to Sowetan from Kinshasa yesterday that they did not have any excuse for losing on Saturday.

She said: "We can't moan about the bumpy pitch because the Congolese also played on it. The heat was also not an excuse because they were subjected to the same weather conditions. Their supporters were there in numbers but we can't attribute that to the loss because we are used to playing in front of big crowds that favoured opponents," argued Hilton-Smith.

Basetsana captain Gloria Thato and teammates told Sowetan at their training session in Edenvale last Monday that their opponents' physique would count for nothing because they were much fitter and more skilful than the Congolese.

Asked what should be done to prepare their players adequately for continental assignments, Hilton-Smith said: "Our men's squads also face the same problem. I think we should camp in the bushes to win consistently in Africa."


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