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Strong competition for places keep Banyana stars on their toes

Banyana Banyana senior player Noko Matlou believes the fierce competition for places in the national team will safeguard against complacency.

“So, we don’t relax. No one is guaranteed a place in the starting line-up,” said Matlou as Banyana prepare to take on Algeria in the second leg of their 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifier in Algiers on Wednesday.

Banyana, with a healthy 2-0 lead from the first leg, need to avoid defeat to ensure that they don’t miss the continental finals and the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup.

And the Banyana veteran, Matlou, is confident that they will beat Algeria as every member of the squad is eager to play.

“Everyone wants to play, and the competition for a place in the starting line-up is very hard. We all want to play, and that’s what I like about the team because it keeps everyone on their toes.  

The SD Eibar defender is optimistic that Banyana will return home with a win. “Without any disrespect, I think we will be able to get a good result in Algeria. I believe so.

“If you can look at the first leg, we should have won with a bigger score-line, but we were unlucky in front of goals. That is something we need to fix in the next game.

“It’s an advantage to us, but that doesn’t mean we have to relax. We have to approach this game with the right mindset and not take our opponents for granted because if we relax, they will hurt us. Especially since they will be playing at home, so they are going to come hard at us because they know that they have to beat us in order for them to have any chance of qualifying for the Afcon.”

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