“The more players we have outside, the more experience we have when we go to big competitions”
Women’s national Under-20 team coach Jabulile Baloyi believes that Banyana Banyana will dominate the continent soon, and her optimism stems from the growing number of Banyana players who are plying their trade abroad.
Earlier this week, Thembi Kgatlana signed a professional contract with Portuguese giants Benfica. Kgatlana’s move came shortly after Linda Motlhalo signed for Swedish side Djurgarden.
In-between, Kelso Peskin joined French second-tier side Toulouse to add to a list that also includes Banyana vice-captain Refiloe Jane, who is on the books of Italian giants AC Milan.
“Those moves will do a lot more than we are anticipating because that says that each and every time we qualify for these big tournaments, then someone out there who is an international scout is watching,” Baloyi said yesterday. “The more players we have outside, the more experience we have when we go to big competitions. That means the more we become competitive when we go into the world stage.
“We are just a step away from dominating Africa.”
Baloyi will use Kgatlana and company’s stories as motivation to Basetsana payers who start their World Cup qualifiers against Zambia at Orlando Stadium on Saturday. Kgatlana and company got their moves because of the exposure playing in major tournaments like the World Cup and Olympics gave them. Basetsana beat Zambia 2-0 in the first leg in Lusaka.
Should they protect their lead on Saturday, they will have three more rounds to slug it out in, in order to become one of two African representatives in the World Cup to be staged in Costa Rica and Panama this year.
If they do that, they would become the first Under-20 generation to play in the global showpiece as only Banyana and the Under-17s have flown the South African flag at the Women’s World Cup.
“It would be a dream come true for me,” Baloyi said.
“Leading them to the World Cup would be massive for me and the country.”