South Africa Under-17 women’s national team coach Simphiwe Dludlu admitted that they lost to a better side after they were humiliated 6-0 by Japan in their second match of the Fifa U17 World Cup currently underway in Uruguay.
The result leaves Bantwana on the brink of elimination from the tournament as they have only one point from two matches and they have equally desperate Brazil as their final group stages opponents on Tuesday.
“The jitters of the first game were gone but we lost because we played against a team that is better than us technically‚” Dludlu admitted after the humbling.
“I could safely say that it was a better game to play‚ I know it sounds a bit crazy because we lost 6-0‚ but the girls had better confidence than the first game.
“It was a good game to watch and it tells us about the gap between the two teams with regards to philosophy and development.
“But‚ I can safely say our girls have learned lessons from this. We had our good moments here and there during the game and if we were clinical we could have converted one or two of our chances.
“Also‚ conceding an early goal like that destabilises the team but I think we lost to a better team that is more technical.
“They move into spaces and they are confident on the ball. That was the difference between us and them.”
After such a sizeable defeat‚ Dludlu has a huge task on her hands to motivate the players for the clash against Brazil next week‚ who have started with a draw against Japan and defeat against Mexico. Like‚ Banyana‚ with just a point they are desperate for a win to stand a chance of progressing.
“The biggest thing for us is did we reach our objectives? One of our objectives was to keep possession and we did that‚” Dludlu said.
“I cannot go and be hard on them because we lost 6-0. All of them are playing for the first time in the World Cup and they are playing their hearts out.
“It is for me to show them the reality that there are teams that are better than us and they have to work even harder. We have to keep our heads high in this tournament because it is not over yet – we will see what happens after all the results.
“I will make sure that they get positive energy from me but I cannot be hard on them.”
Dludlu did not want to use the fact that some of the players are busy writing final year exams as an excuse.
“Some of them were writing before coming to the match. It happens and that tells you how mentally strong they have to be‚” she said.
“It is a tough one for them at this age where they have to focus on so many things at the same time‚ but this is what we signed up for.”