Banyana determined to make an impression at next year's World Cup in France

Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa hugs Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis during the senior women's national team's arrival from the African Women's Cup of Nations in Ghana at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa hugs Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis during the senior women's national team's arrival from the African Women's Cup of Nations in Ghana at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Banyana Banyana star Thembi Kgatlana says the national women's team will need thorough preparation to avoid just making up the numbers at next year's Fifa Women's World Cup in France.

Banyana will make a maiden appearance at the event after finishing second at the African Women’s Cup of Nations in Ghana recently and Kgatlana said they have to do their homework if they are to make an impression at the global tournament.

“There are teams out there that we can challenge but it is going to require good preparation‚” said Kgatlana‚ who was named the player of the tournament in Ghana.

“It is going to be a good journey for all of us.

"But it is up to the association to prepare us properly in the next coming six months.”

Kgatlana‚ who scored five goals in Ghana‚ said the best way for them to prepare would be to play against top European sides who have qualified for the tournament so that they are able to gauge their progress.

Some of the top teams that have qualified for the tournament in France include USA‚ Germany‚ England‚ France‚ Canada‚ Japan and Brazil. These are sides that occupy places in the top ten bracket on the Fifa rankings.

“Playing against teams that have already qualified for the World Cup and also getting Nigeria will be good for our preparations‚" she said.

"I have realised that we never play friendly matches against Nigeria.

"Every time we play them it is in competitions.

"I don’t know if maybe they are scared of us or what but it is time we played them in a friendly match.”

The Houston Dash player stole the show in Ghana but she said there are areas of her game that need to be improved on.

“I need to spend more time with Banyana Banyana and my team in the US because they play at two different levels‚" she said.

"The environment is also different.

"At Houston Dash I play more as a winger or attacking midfielder but the change of roles is not heavy on me.

"With my team‚ I mostly come from the bench to change the game but here at Banyana Banyana I start matches and carry the responsibility of scoring goals.

"This is something that I need to manage going forward so that I can benefit both my team and the national team.”

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