Njabulo Ngidi
1 minute read
12 Apr 2014
11:30 am

Barker takes Banyana reins

Njabulo Ngidi

Stand-in Banyana Banyana captain, Roxanne Barker, isn't getting carried away with leading her country for the first time this afternoon against Zimbabwe at Dobsonville Stadium.

Roxanne Barker attends the Team South Africa Training Session at Sportschule Hennef on July 11, 2012 in Hennef, Germany. (Photo by Mathis Wienand/Getty Images)

The goalkeeper will deputise for the injured skipper, Janine van Wyk, who will miss coach Vera Pauw’s first match in charge. Barker will be critical in the match with Pauw looking to stabilise the outfit’s defence before they play their African Women’s Championship (AWC) qualifier against Comoros next month.

“I am not reading much into the captaincy,” Barker said.

“I know that I am doing it just because someone isn’t there. I didn’t get it on merit. But with that said, there are many leaders in the team, like Amanda Dlamini and Portia Modise. I will rely on them to help me. It is an honour to lead my country.”

Pauw is looking to get the chemistry right with the outfit that has a number of new faces as Banyana Banyana look to qualify for their maiden World Cup. She has opened the scouting net very wide, bringing in Letago Madiba, who she saw in the Sasol League and decided to rope her in. Madiba isn’t the only fresh face with players like Laura Du Ry, Gloria Thato and Odi Fulutudilu looking to cement their place in the side.

“Madiba has adapted well into the set-up,” Pauw said.

“When I saw her, I said she must be in the team. She might play in the match against Zimbabwe. We have been working hard as a team trying to get the players to understand my system.

“All I do will be based on what this team has. There is lots of talent and skills here but I want to push them to a point where certain things come natural.

“A lot of it is artificial at this moment. But that’s why we have such games. So that we can know each other as a team.”