Banyana Banyana confident of turning over deficit against Nigeria

Banyana Banyana is confident they can overturn Nigeria’s Super Falcons’ 1-nil advantage from the first leg and seal qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. The team will host Nigeria in the second leg at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Tuesday evening.

The team that wins the tie, will become one of two teams to represent the African continent at the Games. Forward, Thembi Kgatlana, says they will be able to play their usual football in Pretoria which they couldn’t do in the first leg because of the condition of the playing surface.

Banyana Banyana made the country proud by becoming the first national football team to reach the knock-out stage of a FIFA World Cup when they achieved the feat in Australia and New Zealand last year.

The team then made qualifying for the 2024 Olympic Games its mission to add to its successes and also to erase the disappointment of failing to qualify for Tokyo Olympics four years ago. But it’s not looking good for Banyana after their 1-nil defeat to the Nigerians in the first leg in Abuja on Friday. However, the players believe they can win the tie, playing in favourable conditions at home in front of their fans.

“I still think that we can turn it around, I just hope that the fans come out in numbers hopefully that will help us a lot in the second leg,” says Kaylin Swart, Banyana Banyana keeper.

“The fact that they didn’t cut the grass, and they know we are a ball playing team and now that we will play at home, we have to make sure that the pitch will favour us the same way it favoured them in the first leg so that we can have an advantage playing at home,” says Thembi Kgatlana, Banyana Banyana forward.

The South Africans will take the game to their opponents and know they will have to score first to have a chance of qualifying.

“We just have to make sure that we’re the first team to score but we also need to be aware to not concede and make sure that we score first to get the game even and then control the game,” says Desiree Ellis, Banyana Banyana coach.

In another Olympic qualifier, Morocco’s Atlas Lionesses will host Zambia’s Copper Queens in Rabat in their second leg with the North Africans having a 2-1 advantage from the first leg.

Source: SABC

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