basetsana rule region

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

When South Africa's Under-20 women's team defeated hosts Angola in the finals of the Cosafa Women's Championships on Saturday, it confirmed the abundant talent women of South Africa possess.

The praise came from high up in the South African soccer hierarchy, as the president of the South African Football Association, Molefi Oliphant congratulated coach Anna Monate and her players on winning the competition for the second time in a row.

"This win augurs well for South African women's soccer. I would like to congratulate the players and the technical team. It shows that we are doing something right where the development of the women's game is concerned, although a lot can still be done for them," Oliphant said.

More encouraging news is that the announcement of a women's league is in the pipeline, as the director of women's soccer, Anastasia Tsichlas had been mandated to come up with a format for that league and is about to announce the plan at the next executive meeting, Oliphant said.

Coach Monate was ecstatic, complimenting her players on winning in style. "We won without dropping a match, despite the hostile conditions we were subjected to. Being the champions, all the others targeted us but we refused to be intimidated. I am very proud of my girls, who are very young and have never been away from home for that long," said Monate of the two-week tournament.

A lot was expected from this team, and they have not disappointed so far. Monate was complimentary of players such as captain Gloria Thato and her deputy, Kylie-Ann Louw.

"They listened. Our game plan for the entire tournament was to attack. That is how we scored in the second minute of the final match.

"I knew the Angolans had been together for more than four years, they have strong wing players. I made them defend and attacked through our wing backs. When Noko Matlou - who scored a hat trick in the final - scored the first goal, a crowd of about 9000 was silenced," she said.

Matlou scored 13 goals and was the top goal scorer of the tournament, and was named player of the match in four matches, including the final, though an Angolan was named player of the tournament.

Basetsana have seven regular players in Banyana Banyana and were using the tournament as part of preparations for the World Cup qualifier against the Democratic Republic of Congo on May 31 in Tshwane.

On their way to the final they beat Botswana 5-0, Zimbabwe 2-1, Zambia 7-3 and Namibia 3-1 in the semifinal.