Top tests for Basetsana

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

Basetsana, the under-20 women's national team, will get a rare opportunity to play against top European opposition next month, when they set up camp in Germany.

The team, managed and coached by Fran Hilton-Smith and Annah Monate, will be preparing for their first two preliminary matches of the under-20 2008 World Cup in Beijing.

Basetsana kick off their campaign against Mozambique at home and away in January, and if things go according to plan, the girls will find it easier going than Banyana Banyana's Olympics trail turned out to be.

As part of their training program, the team will play against the Germans on November 22 and against the under-19 Netherlands team on November 25.

Hilton-Smith is confident her team has what it takes to be competitive against those two teams, even though they will be facing a nation that just established themselves as the queens of women's soccer.

Hilton-Smith said the agreement to play the Germans was negotiated while she and the German coach watched one of the matches at the World Cup recently.

In her view, lack of action against the best teams has contributed to the stagnation, even decline, of our soccer, and being proactive and playing more international friendlies will go a long way to stopping South Africa from lagging behind all the time.

"The team will set up camp in Germany from 16 to 26 November 2007. Our mental and physical preparations will include playing matches with the Germans' under-20 team on the 22nd and the under-19 team of Netherlands on the 25th of November.

"Coaching sessions will be conducted by former world champion coach of Germany Tina Theuene-Meyer."

The team: Nthabiseng Matshaba, Mandy De Araujo (goalkeepers); Nothando Vilakazi, Gloria Thato, Bongiwe Radebe , Xolisile Mnikhathi, Mary Ntsweng (defenders); Memory Makhanya, Tasneem Salie, Tina Selepe, Kylie-Ann Louw, Bonolo Molete (midfielders); Mamello Makhabane, Lusinda Bowers, Maphokoane Serobanyane, Yola Jafta, Chantelle Esau and Natalie Valentine (strikers).