Basetsana in do or die encounter

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

A lot rides on the performance of the women's under-20 national team tomorrow when they meet the DRC in a World Cup qualifier in Tshwane.

Kick off is at 3pm at the Caledonian Stadium.

Anna Monate's team are aware of the importance of this match, and how crucial it is for them to win it well here at home.

They still have to travel to Congo in two weeks' time for the second leg.

"The message from the team is that we understand just how crucial this match is. It is a do or die encounter for them and we have to win. They are psyched up, focused and know what is expected of them," said team manager Fran Hilton-Smith.

Hilton-Smith has travelled this road before, and she recalled how in the past campaign the South Africans had beaten Congo at home, only to be subjected to some "shocking" refereeing in the return leg, where Basetsana eventually lost 1-0 (they had won 2-1 at home).

Hilton-Smith said she and the technical team had watched tapes of the current DRC team, particularly a match in which they were playing against Egypt.

That has given everyone a fair idea of what to expect tomorrow.

Monate's team boast the experience of Mamello Makhabane, Memory Makhanya and the dependable Kylie-Ann Louw.

If this team qualifies and are in Chile in November, they will be the first junior team in the history of this country - male or female - to qualify for the World Cup ever.

That in itself has put the girls under a lot of pressure. But if they are to be identified with champions, pressure is the order of the day.