Sunday , October 24 2021

Banyana sure to qualify for the World Cup


Bambanani Mbane is convinced that Banyana will finish in the top three of Awcon. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu / BackpagePix
According to Banyana Banyana defender Bambanani Mbane, who opens their account against their Nigerian bogey side Nigeria's Cup of Nations (Awcon) this afternoon, it will act as a rising stone for a top three finish.

In 2014 and 2016 editions of the continental show, Banyana World Cup ambitions of Super Falcons beat them in the semi-finals 2-1 and 1-0 respectively.

Then in the third round they lost in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana.

"I think it's a big advantage to play Nigeria in our opener because both teams are still fresh," said Mbane Independent Media from Ghana.

"No one will have complaints about fatigue or something like that. We are also glad to open our account against them." In our semifinals, we were sometimes not on the good side of the officials. And coming into this game we are looking for a victory and nothing less. "

Banyana has been in Western Africa for over a week now, giving them enough time to adapt to the climate.

Prior to the Super Falcons clash, Banyana endured a 1-0 loss to the host nation in a friendly match.

However, the 28-year-old defender draws positive results from their defeat. She said that their training time in the morning helped them to adapt to the heat.

Mbane and the company are in Group B with Super Falcons, Zambia and Equatorial Guinea. While Banyana and Super Falcons are favorite to make the semifinal from their group, "Juice" has their eyes on securing a world cup qualifying spot through a top three finish.

"From both tournaments in 2014 and 2016, we've learned from our mistakes," she explained.

"But it's always hard to play from home because the officers are not on your side. This time we are well prepared and we have to work as teams because we want to qualify for the World Cup – and we promised the nation that we would represent them . "

While the Sterkspruit-born football player has been consistent in the defense of the Bloemfontein Celtic team and Banyana, she is not yet allowed to receive practitioners from foreign clubs. But she is convinced that when the conversation is correct, the call will come.

At the moment, she is admired that Banyana has an additional advantage of four regulars – Linda Motlhalo and Thembi Kgatlana (both USA), Refiloe Jane (Australia) and Leandra Smeda (Lithuania) – who play abroad.

"When time is right, I'll go abroad," she said.

"There is nothing that surpasses hard work. If there is a chance, we'll see. Other than that, I'm still focusing on doing good for my team and Banyana.

"When an opportunity comes, it should find me ready, after all, I like to expand my horizons."

Coach Desiree Ellis and her troops are entering into today's conflict highly in confidence after recently voting this year's South African team on annual sports awards.


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