banyana stars shine in the US

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

Banyana Banyana team manager Fran Hilton-Smith is over the moon over the "outstanding achievement" by Veronica Phewa and Lena Mosebo at their US club.

The two stars left these shores in search of fame and fortune in the US, and in just four months they have played a huge part in their team, FC Indiana winning their division of the Women's Premier League.

The win propelled Indiana to the finals where they will compete against teams from California, Washington and Atlanta for the prestigious title.

Phewa has made quite an impression in her first season at the Lafayette, Indiana-based team, finishing as the side's top goal scorer with 15 goals in 20 matches.

Mosebo, who has been used as a midfielder and as a defender, has also capped her performance so far with three goals.

Reacting to the two players' exploits, Hilton-Smith said: "This is great news for us and proves once again that we have some of the best women footballers in the world, but we just lack competition and exposure."

Indiana, coached by Shek Borkowski, has won the title twice before, thanks in part to its strong international contingent, with players from nine different countries. The championship will be decided in two weeks' time.

"The diversity of our players shows in our approach to the game. We are multifaceted because of it, and the two girls have added so much value to the team. Some of our players have been to the Olympics and others to the World Cup before. We have been very impressed with Veronica and Lena," Borkowski said.

So impressed that he has also recruited 17-year-old Dineo Mmutle, who will be joining their academy next week for a 24-month stay.

"We are hoping to bring two more South Africans here soon," the coach said.

Hilton-Smith said she was positive these players will go on to make a big contribution to the national team's exploits in future competitions.

"Our vision now is the sixth African Women's Championships in November in Equatorial Guinea and eventually the Germany 2011 Women's World Cup," she said.

FC Indiana are regarded as the most successful club in the history of women's professional football in the United States.