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Banyana under pressure to beat DRC in Olympics qualifiers after draw in Kinshasa

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Kaylin Swart of South Africa concedes that they are under pressure to beat DR Congo
Kaylin Swart of South Africa concedes that they are under pressure to beat DR Congo
Image: Lars Baron

Banyana Banyana goalkeeper Kaylin Swart has conceded that they are under pressure to beat DR Congo in the second leg of the CAF Olympics qualifiers second round at Orlando Stadium on Monday after playing to a 1-all draw in the first leg in Kinshasa on Tuesday.

"I think the pressure is still on us. We are also going to go in as African champions and everyone wants to beat Banyana, so we always need to step up and show why we are superior,'' Swart said.

Swart also heaped praise on Banyana's new-look back-four, composed of budding stars Karabo Dhlamini, Lonathemba Mhlongo, Wendy Shongwe and Fikile Magama. "There was a lot of pressure on us but I must give credit to the youngsters that stepped up in the backline," the Banyana shot-stopper said.

"They made me so proud, the way they fought for every ball. Congo are a physical team and they have very speedy wingers but I think we contained them quite well."

Swart doesn't doubt  Banyana have what it takes to put Congo to the sword in the second leg and advance to the penultimate round of these qualifiers for the Games, to be staged in Paris next year. The Banyana keeper hopes the away fixture trained them for the return leg as well.

"I think we have enough quality in our team to get over this hurdle. We know what we need to do in the second leg,'' Swart noted.

"Hopefully, everyone learnt some valuable lessons from this game, so we just hope to take those lessons back home and make sure that we convert the chances that we create."

Meanwhile, mentor Desiree Ellis cherishes the away goal they netted in Kinshasa, albeit ruing the chances they missed. Ellis was also pleased with her players' shift, especially the new backline, suggesting she's preparing for the future by starting the younger players at the back.

"We got an away goal but I think it could have been more than one...we had a couple of chances to really put the game to bed, so it's still all to play for in the second game,'' Ellis said.

"I am really proud of the players, the way they performed...we had one training session. Completely new backline as well, a very young backline, so it augurs well for the future."

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