WITH the Under-20 girls' national team crashing out of their World Cup qualifiers courtesy of Nigeria, it is now left to the Under-17 team to fulfil the elusive dream of a South African team reaching this tournament.
Makgarebe, as the Under-17s are known, are set to play their first qualifying match but will already have their sights set on the finals in Trinidad and Tobago in September.
They are off to Gaborone tomorrow, where they will play that country on Saturday under the tutelage of Solly Luvhengo and Joseph Mkhonza.
These two coaches are actually in charge of the men's team, but have been roped in because of Safa's continued dithering in appointing a coach for the girls.
To get to the finals in the Caribbean, Makgarebe also have to play Nigeria, but only if they manage to beat Botswana this weekend and in the next leg in two weeks' time. They will play Nigeria away in the first leg on April 19. The second leg will take place at home on May 1.
Luvhengo and Mkhonza's team consists of nine players from the High Performance Academy in Tshwane, while some of them were selected in a talent-identification tournament that took place in Johannesburg in December.
The rest of the girls were chosen from the Sasol Women's League and the Absa League's numerous roadshows held across the country.
Former Banyana Banyana player Siphiwe Thabethe has died. Thabethe, 34, was based in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga. Banyana team manager Fran Hilton-Smith said Thabethe was an important member of the team in the late nineties.
"When we went to play Arsenal in England, Siphiwe was with us. Her death is very sad, as she had two small children," Hilton-Smith said.