Banyana will bank on Modise in Zimbabwe
It's all or nothing for Banyana Banyana when they take on Zimbabwe in the second leg of the Beijing 2008 Olympic qualifiers in Harare tomorrow at 3pm.
Though Fran Hilton-Smith, Banyana Banyana team manager, admitted it will be tough in Zimbabwe, she remained confident her charges will not let the country down.
The South Africans take a 2-1 cushion to Zimbabwe after their neighbours gave them a fright in the first leg in Pretoria a fortnight ago.
But Banyana Banyana go into this match with renewed confidence after they were rejoined by striker Portia Modise, of Fortuna Hjorring FC in Denmark, on Wednesday.
Modise, who has just signed a two-season contract with her club, missed the first leg as she could not be traced then.
Left-back Lesego Mosebo, of Skyblue FC in Atlanta in the US, is expected to join the team in Zimbabwe today.
Right-back Simphiwe Dludlu has also been recalled to close the gap left by the injured Rose Jajane.
"We are aware that the Zimbabweans will be tough at home but we have a bunch of experienced payers who will match them," Hilton-Smith told Sowetan shortly before the team boarded a flight to Harare at the OR Tambo International Airport yesterday morning.
"We watched the video of the first leg and we managed to identify our mistakes and rectified them at training.
"We also looked at their strengths and weaknesses and we know what to expect from them."
Hilton-Smith will be on the bench with assistant coach Anna Monate in the absence of head coach Augustine Makalakalane, who is serving a five-match ban imposed on him by the Federation of International Football Associations for swearing at a referee.
The full squad is:
Goalkeepers - Itumeleng Chimeloane, Thoko Mndaweni.
Defenders - Mosebo, Keneilwe Mathibela, Janine van Wyk, Gloria Thato, Dludlu.
Midfielders - Hlengiwe Ngwane, Phumi Nyandeni, Bongiwe Radebe, Kylie-Ann Louw.
Strikers - Thembelihle Thabethe, Memory Makhanya, Mamello Makhabane, Theresa Biggs, Veronica Phewa, Modise, Belinda Nkosi.