By Nick Said
South Africa are on the brink of a rare trip to a Fifa World Cup finals as the national Under-17 women’s side take on Morocco in the second leg of their final-round qualifier in Sale on Saturday.
Coach Simphiwe Dludlu’s side lead 5-1 from the home leg and it would take an extraordinary turnaround to deny them a place at the World Cup in Uruguay in November.
Team captain Kaylin Jordaan‚ who is also an Under-20 international‚ says there is confidence the team will complete the job‚ but they are taking nothing for granted.
“It’s a challenge. Morocco have hometown advantage‚” she said. “But I believe the team will qualify and we will beat Morocco again.
“As captain I am very nervous‚ I don’t know what to expect from Morocco. Obviously they have been studying us after the first match. But also‚ I’m excited because I feel we will qualify for the World Cup.
“My heart is in Uruguay‚ but my mind is in Morocco. But I am looking forward to going to the World Cup. We will qualify.”
Jordaan said the team has been working on their defensive structure‚ but will not ‘park the bus’ in Morocco.
“We have been strategising on our defence most importantly. We know Morocco are going to go all out because they have nothing to lose.
“But we are also focussed on attacking‚ because we won’t leave it at 5-1. We will go beyond that.
“You must always expect the unexpected‚ I know it will be a tough game but I believe the girls are prepared for everything that comes our way.
“We are going to qualify‚ we are going to do everything in our world to make South Africans proud and believe we can do it.”
South Africa have been to the World Cup at this age-group before‚ qualifying for the 2010 tournament in Trinidad and Tobago.
There they lost all three games‚ including a 10-1 defeat by Germany‚ but out of hat squad the likes of Kaylin Swart‚ Jermaine Seoposenwe‚ Robyn Moodaly and Meagan Newman have all gone on to play college soccer in the USA and feature for the senior national team.