By CLIFFORD MAHLO
NATIONAL Under-17 Women’s team made history when they beat Tunisia 3-1 on aggregate to become the first South African women’s team to qualify for the FIFA World Cup.This after Bantwana as the SA Women’s under-17 side is known registered a hard-fought 2-1 away victory over Tunisia on Saturday, May 29 to book themselves a place in the forthcoming world cup is will be hosted by Trinidad and Tobacco in September this year.
Bantwana’s goals were scored by Robyn Moodaly and Christelene Jantjies to give the Solly Luvhengo’s coached side a ticket to qualify to their first-ever world cup.The victory away comes hardly two weeks after the team’s 1-0 victory at home (Katlehong’s Huntersfield Stadium).Team manager, Fran Hilton-Smith was over the moon about the team’s achievement after the country’s past attempt in both Banyana Banyana and the under-19s failed to do so over the years.”I am very proud about the team’s achievement. This is a big achievement for women’s football in this country and we are looking forward to organise few friendly international matches so as to prepare the team for the world cup,” said Hilton-Smith.
The iron-lady of the South African women’s football as Hilton-Smith is usually called added that Safa has decided that Luvhengo remain with the team until after the world Cup before the newly appointed coach, Gregory Mashilo could take over.Echoing Hilton-Smith’ sentiment, Luvhengo said he was equally excited about his achievement as a coach.”As a caretaker coach, this achievement means a lot to me, especially that I am the first coach to guide a team to a world cup. Guiding Bantwana to a world cup is a good thing to have happened in my entire career as a coach, and I would like to thank Safa for believing in me,” said Luvhengo who is also the national Under-17 (boys) team coach.