BRICS tournament is just what the doctor ordered – Bantwana coach

The South African U17 Women’s National Team (Bantwana) is back in camp to prepare for the upcoming BRICS tournament (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), that will be played in South Africa � this is part of the preparations for the 2018 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup that will take place in Uruguay from 13 November to 1 December.

The BRICS competition takes place from 15 and 23 July in Johannesburg.

Bantwana head coach Simphiwe Dludlu has selected a squad of 24 players to play in the tournament.

It has been a while since we last saw the girls, and from the couple of training sessions we have had, some are looking very rusty as they are busy with exams � but they still remember what they have to do. This is an opportunity for us to regain the momentum and our play, and slowly we are getting there, we don’t want to rush them and do everything at once, said Dludlu.

This camp is very important because we have a bit of time to be able to do our combination right, and also to get fitter. It will help us to prepare and evaluate each player, remember this is not just about this upcoming BRICS tournament, but also about the bigger picture, which is the World Cup.

She has kept the majority of the players that helped the side qualify for the World Cup, where South Africa has been drawn in Group B with Brazil, Japan and a representative from CONCACAF.

The approach leading to the World Cup is to keep the core of the team because we don’t have the luxury of getting all the players we want in camp. The new players that are coming in are boosting the squad, and if we find a better player than we have, we will bring them in. But what’s also important is the fluidity in the team and the understanding, because they have played longer with each other, and they know how to demand from each other, so the technical team does not have to start from sratch, said the former Banyana Banyana captain.

Those that are not here should not despair because selection is not permanent. Everybody needs to put their best foot forward. I am still on the lookout for those players we may have missed previously � this means you could have played the qualifiers but you might not make it to Uruguay. On the other hand, we can’t be looking for too many players because we have limited time for preparations.

Dludlu says the BRICS tournament came at the right time.

It will help us a great deal because these are teams we have never played in the past (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and we know the magnitude of these teams, which are also in different parts of the world � their development structures are better and also the competition is better, added Dludlu.

The BRICS tournament will give us an idea of what we will face when we go to Uruguay, that’s very important for us. And also it’s good exposure for the girls because we are just used to playing African teams, now we are playing against opponents from different continents. It will put the players under pressure, but it’s all for a good cause. The number of days we will be playing in-between is a great exercise as it will prepare us for the world. It’s good that we are getting this opportunity now so we can build on that foundation when we go to the world cup.

This will be Bantwana’s second FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup � they were last at this tournament in 2010 in Trinidad and Tobago.

Source: South African Football Association

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