It won't be a train smash if Banyana fail to get out of World Cup group stages‚ says Ria Ledwaba
SA Football Association (Safa) vice-president Ria Ledwaba says it will not be the end of the world if Banyana Banyana fail to progress beyond the group stages at this year's Fifa Women’s World Cup.
The nation's soccer lovers remain hopeful that Banyana will emerge from the global showpiece's group stages in France in June but Ledwaba said people must manage their expectations.
“Let’s be realistic‚ we are going to our first World Cup and you are already putting conditions‚” said Ledwaba at Safa House after confirming that the National Women’s League would start after the World Cup in August.
“Let the girls go there and enjoy themselves because they have already done the Olympics where they showed us that they can participate.
"We want them to go out there and enjoy themselves‚ participate and show that South Africa is one of the countries that they must look out for at the next World Cup.
“Chances are we can go to the second round.
"I don’t see that not happening because of the quality of players that we have‚ but if we don’t qualify it will not the end of the world.
"The girls have done us proud so far by taking us to the Africa Cup of Nations and we are excited and proud of them.”
Banyana recently took part in the Cyprus Cup but they lost all their matches and finished in 10th position.
Ledwaba said people must not read too much into those poor results.
“You must understand that the teams that were there at the Cyprus tournament are world class‚" she said.
"If you compare our performances then and now‚ you can see that there are improvements.
"You know that our group at the World Cup is the strongest with countries like Germany and Spain and it is not going to be easy.
"But I am confident with the quality of players that we are taking there.
“Our players are experienced and eight of them started at the HPC academy.
"They have accumulated experience over the 15 years they have played in the national league and through the national teams.
"There are prospects of them going there and doing well because preparations have been done by winning the Cosafa Cup where they beat a strong team like Cameroon in the final.
"We also beat Nigeria at the recent Cup of Nations and the results are there.”