The Banyana coach today named a 21-woman squad for the African Women’s Championships (AWC) in Namibia, which takes place from October 11-25. The top three countries in Namibia will go on to the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
“I have confidence in them (my players) to go to at least the quarterfinals of the World Cup, the way they are playing now, so yes, I have confidence we can go to the final (of the AWC),” said Pauw.
While she does think that Banyana can win the AWC, meanwhile, Pauw stressed that the most important mission was World Cup qualification.
“It is very simple, going to the World Cup is key,” said Pauw.
“This is one of the biggest events for women in the world. It is even bigger than anything in tennis or golf. The only one bigger is the Olympic Games, which is an accumulation of different sports. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to conquer Africa.”
Bafana have a potentially tough group in Namibia, with Pauw’s women pitted against Cameroon, Ghana and Algeria. The Banyana coach admitted seeing the opposition play had been a bit of a problem.
“The real challenge we have is seeing them, our opponents have not been playing that regularly. But we will see Cameroon two times, Ghana one time, and Algeria two times this week. We will have the information we need, analyse it and set our game plan on that.”
Banyana captain Janine Van Wyk, meanwhile, stressed the importance of victory in their opening match against Cameroon on October 12.
“Training has been going really well and everyone is excited to go,” she said.
“Everyone is looking sharp and there is a strong hunger to win. Hopefully we can carry that through the whole tournament and not just the first game, (but) it is really important to come up with the win against Cameroon to give us the confidence to go forward.”
Goalkeepers: Andile Dlamini, Thokozile Mndaweni, Roxanne Barker
Defenders: Noko Matlou, Nothando Vilakazi, Janine Van Wyk, Nomathemba Ntsibande, Simphiwe Dludlu, Lebogang Ramalepe, Gloria Thato
Midfielders: Amanda Dlamini, Sanah Mollo, Leandra Smeda, Refiloe Jane, Mamello Makhabane, Mpumi Nyandeni
Strikers: Shiwe Nongwanya, Slindile Ngubane, Ode Fulutudilu, Thembi Kgatlana, Portia Modise.