Impressive Basetsana off to an inspiring start

PREPARATIONS for the national women's Under-20 squad, Basetsana, for their 2010 World Cup qualifier against Reunion, got off to an inspiring start when they humbled neighbours Botswana 4-0 in a lopsided friendly in Gaborone on Saturday.

The goals were scored by Chantelle Esau, Lerato Kgasago, Busisiwe Ndimeni and Ntswaki Ramolahlehi. Basetsana will face Reunion away in their qualifying match on Saturday.

The return leg will be played in South Africa on September 19.

Team manager Fran Hilton-Smith told Sowetan yesterday she was happy with how the girls performed against Botswana.

"The girls really played well and I was very impressed. I think they are starting to gel as a team and this bodes well for us leading up to our match against Reunion on Saturday," Hilton-Smith said.

She said: " I think most of the girls in the team will form the core of the team should we qualify for the World Cup. Already, we have three players from Banyana Banyana (the senior women national team) in this squad and there will probably be other inclusions.

"We are not going to leave deserving players outside because we really want to qualify for the World Cup."

She defended the choice of opposition. Despite the impressive win on Saturday she stressed that Botswana were a formidable side.

"They are very good though the score line might suggest otherwise.

"We wrote letters to a number of stronger African countries such as Ghana and Nigeria but they could not come down to play us because of financial constraints," she said.

About Saturday's match against Reunion Hilton-Smith said they were expecting a very tough encounter but she maintained the girls would be equal to the task.