sa team aims high at world student games

UNIVERSITY Sport South Africa's women's soccer team's goal is to reach the second round of the 25th World Student Games in Serbia.

UNIVERSITY Sport South Africa's women's soccer team's goal is to reach the second round of the 25th World Student Games in Serbia.

This is according to captain Nomathemba Ntsibande, who is one of the student team's three longest-serving players. The other two are Nthabeleng Modiko and Kholeka Makhanda.

The 16-nation tournament kicks off in Belgrade tomorrow where South Africa will be the sole representatives from this continent in the women's competition. Morocco are the only Africans participating in the men's competition.

South Africa, who finished 11th in the 24th edition of this biennial tournament in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2007, start their campaign in Belgrade against Brazil tomorrow.

Ntsibande, Modiko and Makhanda were part of the team that played in Thailand that was guided by Jerry Laka, who is now chairperson of the Ussa soccer committee.

The team, which is now coached by former Kaizer Chiefs stalwart Joseph Mkhonza, left for Belgrade on Thursday to acclimatise.

Ntsibande said: "The most important thing for us in this tournament is to go beyond the group stages, we have to do well in the the three opening games.

"Our final preparations for the tournament are going according to plan and we are looking forward to a tough but exciting tournament. We are aware our team will be under a microscope because South Africa is hosting the next Fifa World Cup in 2010."

South Africa take on Germany on July 2 and South Korea two days later to compete the first round.

Influential players Lebo Thobejane and Simphiwe Dludlu are off to Holland with Banyana Banyana for a tournament next week .

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