victorious U-17 team returns

MAKING HISTORY: A jubilant women's Under-17 team arriving at the OR Tambo International Airport from Tunisia where they qualified for the World Cup to be held later this year in Trinidad and Tobago. Pic. BAFANA MAHLANGU. 31/05/2010. © Sowetan.

20100531 BMA A Jubilant woman U17 team arriving at the OR Tambo International Airport from Tunisia where they qualified for the World Cup later this year in Trinidad and Tobago. PHOTO: BAFANA MAHLANGU
MAKING HISTORY: A jubilant women's Under-17 team arriving at the OR Tambo International Airport from Tunisia where they qualified for the World Cup to be held later this year in Trinidad and Tobago. Pic. BAFANA MAHLANGU. 31/05/2010. © Sowetan. 20100531 BMA A Jubilant woman U17 team arriving at the OR Tambo International Airport from Tunisia where they qualified for the World Cup later this year in Trinidad and Tobago. PHOTO: BAFANA MAHLANGU

THERE was singing, dancing and ululating at OR Tambo International Airport when the women's Under-17 football team emerged from the arrivals lounge yesterday morning.

THERE was singing, dancing and ululating at OR Tambo International Airport when the women's Under-17 football team emerged from the arrivals lounge yesterday morning.

While they had not exactly won the World Cup, the history-making girls still had the Safa top brass that included president Kristen Nematandani, his deputy Mwelo Nonkonyana, former Under-20 coach Anna Monate and director of women's football Nomsa Mahlangu patiently waiting to congratulate them.

Bantwana got rid of the monkey on the back of South Africa on Saturday when they beat Tunisia 2-1 to become the country's first SA women's team to qualify for a Fifa World Cup tournament.

To be precise, the national women's squads have been pipped at the post for the past 16 years by Nigeria and Ghana.

The 2010 finals, with 16 nations participating, will take place in Trinidad and Tobago in September.

Victorious team captain Rachel Sebati said sheer determination won the day in Tunisia.

"Today, I have to say I play for the best team in South Africa. We thought we were going nowhere when Nigeria beat us but when we were thrown a lifeline, we took it," Sebati said.

The girls were pleasantly surprised when informed that Bafana Bafana captain Aaron "Mbazo" Mokoena had congratulated them.

"It is very special that Bafana, especially the captain, would take time to wish us well," Sebati said.

Coach Solly Luvhengo added: "I am very happy for my girls. A dream has come true for them. To say the future of women's football is bright is an understatement.

"Already, young as they are, they will interact with the best in the world and that is the kind of experience you need at this age."

Alice Khoza scored South Africa's goal in Katlehong two weeks ago, before Robi Moodaly and Christelene Jantjies completed the job in Tunisia.

Luvhengo said: "We are a determined group and we want to make the country proud in Trinidad and Tobago in September."

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