Vera Pauw vouches for skill and ability of Banyana

Linda Motlhalo, right, in action for her team in the US.
Linda Motlhalo, right, in action for her team in the US.
Image: Twitter / Houston Dash

If Vera Pauw had her way, she would recruit most of Banyana Banyana players who appeared at the last Olympic Games two years ago.

Linda Motlhalo and Thembi Kgatlana were the last SA stars to join Pauw at her US club Houston Dash, making it three, together with Janine van Wyk who signed in December 2016.

Speaking to Sowetan from the US, Pauw waxed lyrically of her signings despite her side languishing second from the bottom on the nine-team National Women's Soccer League.

"Linda offers superb feeling for time and space combined with creativity and flexibility.

"Thembi can change a game within a second. "We use her when we need pressure behind the defence of the opponent [and her] lightning pace in taking on an opponent.

"Janine is the organiser of the team. She is also the one with the highest rate of blocking shots on goal."

She continued: "Many [SA] players who lined up in the [2016] Olympic team would be able to play here [in the US]. We needed Linda's and Thembi's qualities to get more variety in the team. That is why I chose them."

Kgatlana, 22, and Motlhalo, 20, were signed in February. The two have made more than 20 appearances between them.

Pauw dismissed any perception that she may be proving her critics wrong by snapping up Banyana players. Some were under the impression the Dutch-born mentor didn't enjoy the best of relationships in her two-year spell with the senior women's national team.

"The ones that criticised were not the ones close to us or they were the ones that had other aims," said Pauw who was hired as Dash coach in November 2017.

She was last in charge of Banyana at the Rio Olympics were SA were eliminated in the first round.