South Africa U-20 women’s coach, Maude Khumalo is upbeat the stronghold Nigeria has over South African teams will be broken in their quest to become the country’s second women’s side to take part in the World Cup, after the U-17 generation of 2010 competed in the global showpiece in Trinidad and Tobago.
Basetsana will go into the final round confident after they made light work of Burundi at the Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday, thumping them 5-0 to reverse the 2-0 loss they suffered in Bujumbura earlier this month. Before that, they had humbled Namibia 9-0 on aggregate.
The mighty Nigeria now lies in wait in the last round of the qualifiers. The winner over two legs in January will book a place in the World Cup that will run from August 5-24 in France.
“What I will tell you is that when you go out of the country, you don’t know what to expect. But we have been to Nigeria with some of the girls who are here. Our thinking is that if we want to be the best, we have to beat the best.
“This Nigeria jinx needs to go away. We need to have a proper game plan. I think that we will make it and we will go to France. There are a lot of factors that contribute to us being afraid of Nigeria, especially when it comes to the junior national teams.
“There are always rumours that Nigeria uses over-aged players. So, what we have told the girls is that regardless of what we face against Nigeria, we must showcase our talent, fight as a unit and be prepared to die on the field for the country. That’s the mentality that we need to have,” Khumalo said.
He continued: “Basetsana struggled against Burundi in their own backyard, not because they were tactically inferior but because they suffered from stage fright.
“The difference against Burundi is that we made a lot of changes and we made sure we analysed the weaknesses of the opponents. We realised that they were too slow and they weren’t that good technically.
“We told ourselves that we must wrap up the match in the first half so that we could kill their confidence. Their game plan was just to hoof the ball forward and we had a response for that.”