Home Sport Soccer Dlamini’s goal: No goals

Dlamini’s goal: No goals

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Banyana have no major titles nor a competitive league, but Dlamini is confident they will hold their own.

NOT A TOURIST: Banyana Banyana goalkeeper Andile Dlamini says that the South Africans have not gone to the World Cup to watch other teams play. They are in France to compete. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu BackpagePix

ANDILE Dlamini spoke militantly about what South Africans and Spain can expect from Banyana Banyana in their World Cup opening match on Saturday at Le Havre in France.

Dlamini and her teammates will be making their debut in the event, and instead of a warm embrace, the World Cup has pitted them against Spain, China and Germany – global powerhouses in the women’s game.

Germany have 11 international titles while China have been crowned Asian champions eight times. Spain boasts one of the most competitive leagues in the world.

Banyana have no major titles nor a competitive league, but Dlamini is confident they will hold their own.

“Firstly, you can expect fighters,” Dlamini said. “You can expect a great team that’s going to compete against Spain. We are not here to just look at our opponents play and allow them to score against us. We are here to play and make sure that we make our country proud.

“Nobody comes to the World Cup, I feel – because this is my first time, I don’t know how people normally feel about this – and just give in. We are here to compete.

“We are here to do our best and let God do the rest. We will leave everything on the field of play. Forget the match against Norway, the way we played against them in the second half is what Banyana Banyana is capable of.

“We are fighters. Just look at where we are ranked, we still make people uncomfortable playing us.”

Norway thumped Banyana 7-2 in Amiens on Sunday in their last friendly before the start of the World Cup.

Dlamini conceded those seven goals, but not once did she drop her head – an act that speaks highly of her mental strength as she has had to fight to earn the title of being the No 1 goalkeeper.

“I spoke throughout the match,” Dlamini said. “There wasn’t a moment where my head was down. I kept on talking, until the 90th minute. They say that other goalkeepers would fake an injury just to escape that and have a ‘reason’ for being beaten so many times, I didn’t do that.

“I was there.

“I stood up and said that this is a learning curve. There are other goalkeepers who have gone through this, they conquered all, and they are champions right now.”

Banyana don’t have grand ambitions in this tournament because they know that as the lowest ranked team in the group, they will be up against it. But that hasn’t stopped Dlamini targeting a massive goal.

“No goals,” Dlamini said, followed by an infectious laughter to the question of what her personal goal in the World Cup is. “Any goalkeeper wouldn’t want to concede. I would like not to concede.

“That’s my goal, no goals. I can’t wait to grow. I have grown in the past couple of matches I have played against the top countries. The feel of playing these countries is different.

“I feel that I am growing each and every day because of the challenges that I face, they are one step higher. If you save a ball against the No 1 ranked country in the world, you feel motivated because there is a team that can’t handle them in the world, but you can.

“I am driven. I work hard and my teammates push me. I have great teammates.”