Banyana confident to qualify for World Cup


Bambanani Mbane is confident that Banyana will finish in the top three on Awcon. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu / BackpagePix
According to Bambanani Mbane, defender of Banyana Banyana, who opens his account against South Africa at the Nations Cup of Nations (Awcon), this afternoon will serve as a springboard for the top three.

In the 2014 and 2016 Continental Cup editions, Banyana's aspirations in the World Cup were hampered by the Super Falcons, who won in the semifinals 2-1 and 1-0 respectively.

Subsequently, in the third place of the play-off, they lost to Ivory Coast and Ghana.

"I think it's a huge advantage to play against Nigeria in our debut because both teams are still fresh," Mbane told Independent Media of Ghana.

"No one is going to complain about fatigue or anything like that. We are also pleased that we are opening our account against them. In our semifinals, sometimes we were not on the good side of the officials. And entering this game, we are looking for a win and nothing less. "

The Banyana have been in West Africa for over a week, giving them enough time to adjust to the weather.

Before the clash with the Super Falcons, Banyana suffered a 1-0 loss to the host country in a friendly game.

However, the 28-year-old defender takes positive points from defeat. She said the midday training sessions at home helped them adjust to the heat.

Mbane and company are in Group B with the Super Hawks, Zambia and Equatorial Guinea. While Banyana and the Super Falcons are favorites for their group's semi-finals, "Juice" looks to secure a World Championship qualifying spot by finishing in the top three.

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

"However, it is always difficult to play away from home because the referee is not on his side. This time we are well prepared and we have to work as a team because we want to qualify for the World Cup – and we promise the nation that we will represent them. "

While the football player born in Sterkspruit has been consistent in defending the women's team of Bloemfontein Celtic and Banyana, she should still receive suitors from foreign clubs. But she is convinced that when the time comes, the call will come.

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

"When the time is right, I will go abroad," she said.

"There is nothing that goes beyond hard work. If there's a chance, then we'll see. Other than that, I'm still concentrating on doing well for my team and Banyana.

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

Coach Desiree Ellis and her troops entered today's clash with great confidence after being newly elected South Africa's Team of the Year at annual sports awards.


Independent Sunday

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