It's a do or die for Banyana Banyana

Banyana Banyana forward Thembi Kgatlana celebrates after scoring a goal against Spain in their first match of the World Cup.
Banyana Banyana forward Thembi Kgatlana celebrates after scoring a goal against Spain in their first match of the World Cup.
Image: Damien MEYER / AFP

It's all or nothing for World Cup debutants Banyana Banyana tonight.

Our national women's team takes on the tricky China in their second Group B match of the spectacle at Paris' Parc de Princes, France.

This is the match Banyana can't afford to lose after they lost their opening game against Spain at the weekend, thanks to the controversial Video Assistant Referees (VAR) which awarded La Roja two debatable penalties.

To add to our ladies' woes, Banyana finished the match with one player down after Chilean referee Maria Carvajal - aided by the much-maligned VAR - sent dependable defender Nothando Vilakazi off for what was deemed a dangerous tackle on Lucia Garcia.

But we are encouraged that Banyana have put the weekend's setback behind them and are looking forward to tonight's game.

We are also inspired by their spirited all-round performance in that match.

We believe in our players that they can go beyond the group stage and that the likes of Thembi Kgatlana and Lebohang Ramalepe could make the feat attainable.

Granted, our girls lack World Cup experience, but we have players who are plying their trade abroad. They play against top international players week in and week out in their leagues and their experience should come in handy at the World Cup.

China, who are also desperate for a win after losing their opener against Germany, are a pacey side which we should treat with caution. To our advantage, though, we also boast speedy players and we should match the Chinese pound-for-pound.

Coach Desiree Ellis proved her technical and tactical nous when she led Banyana to their maiden appearance at the global football festival and we can't doubt her techniques now.

We say to our girls, go out there and die for your country.

We are all behind you and we will continue to rally behind you all the way.

We urge all of you to eke every last sinew of energy out of your capable legs and beat China.

But don't underestimate them because all the teams in the World Cup are capable of winning.

Just put your nose to the grindstone, and we wish you the best.

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