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Women's World Cup

Bambanani Mbane: South Africa showed too much respect to Sweden and the Netherlands

12:01 PM EST 1/30/19
Bambanani Mbane, Lebohang Ramalepe and Regina Mogolola of Banyana Banyana
The defender reflected on Banyana Banyana's performance in January's test games against Netherlands and Sweden in Cape Town

Bambanani Mbane has disclosed that South Africa showed Netherlands and Sweden too much respect in January's pre-World Cup warm-up games.

Banyana Banyana bowed 2-1 to the Netherlands at the Cape Town Stadium, before holding Sweden to a 0-0 draw four days later.

Reflecting on the results, the Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies’ star gave her opinion on her team while tasking her teammates to do better.

"Those were two good games that we played and I think we have put too much respect into these top teams, and it must stop," Mbane told Safa.net.

"We must make it a point that we should not make things easy for these teams. We need to make sure that teams show us respect, and I can tell you now that Sweden will not forget us very soon because we made life very difficult for them, and that is how it is supposed to be. They really did not expect what came their way.

"The first thing is that do not over-respect teams because that’s where most of the challenges begin if you do that you start with a defeated mind.

"Just remember that it is 11 versus 11 and then take it from there. We now communicate a lot as a team on the field and that helps a lot, as we are able to rectify or fix problems on the spot.

"Also, we are now well aware of what it will take for us to get out of the group when we play in the World Cup because Netherlands and Sweden play more or less the same style as teams in the world cup – so it was a great exercise."

The 28-year-old was one of Desiree Ellis' top performers at the Cosafa Women's Cup and Africa Women Cup of Nations in Ghana, where they sealed their maiden Fifa Women World Cup place.

Mbane rues her team’s profligacy in front of goal while tasking them to do better in converting begging chance as well as defend well.

"We need to fix our finishing because we are able to create a lot of chances but lack when it comes to the crucial part of the game, which is scoring goals," she continued.

"If we were more composed, I think we could hit many teams with high scores because we are able to bridge their defences but we never take advantage of that.

“In international football, you get one chance in the 90 minutes and you need to use it, as it may just be the winning goal.

"On the other hand, when the opponents get one chance, they make good use of it. Also, we need to make sure we solidify our defence even more because we don’t want to concede goals – remember when you don’t concede you increase your chance of winning games.

"Once we sort these things out, I think we will be untouchable, but we know it takes a lot of hard work and sacrifices."

South Africa will look to step up their World Cup preparations when they compete in this year's Cyprus Women’s Cup scheduled between February 27 to March 6, 2019.