2009 CAF African Women’s Footballer and 2011 SA Sportswoman of the Year, Noko Matlou, is confident of an opening London 2012 qualification leg win over Ethiopia in Soweto on Saturday. In this file image, Banyana defender Janine van Wyk and Matlou prepare for training. File Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/Backpagepix

Sportswoman of the Year and Banyana Banyana striker, Noko Matlou, is confident the South African Senior Women’s National team can get a win over Ethiopia in their 2012 London Olympic qualifier on Saturday, 27 August 2011.

The prolific striker is, however, aware that this first leg encounter at Orlando Stadium in Soweto will not be a walk in the park, and they need to score more goals.

“The biggest challenge is that we don’t know them (Ethiopia) too well, but I think they are going to play very similar to their last game when they beat Ghana. We are expecting a tough game no doubt, but we are confident we are going to come out win on Saturday. What we have to do, though, is make sure we score a lot of goals at home because when we play there it will not be easy to score. We have to make sure we win big at home,” says Matlou.

Victory will see Banyana Banyana ninety minutes (90) minutes away from qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics. The South Africans go into this game at the back of a good five nil (5-0) win over Mozambique last weekend in a friendly international.

“This is a hugely important game and if we want to qualify for the Olympics we need to start well on Saturday. It is very encouraging to go into this big clash because we know we can score goals and it gives us confidence. And we are expecting to score more goals again on Saturday,” adds Matlou.

As one of the best players in the team, Matlou was rewarded for her efforts earlier this week when she scooped the Sportswoman of the Year Award at the 2011 South African Sports Awards ceremony at Sun City on Sunday, 21 August 2011.

This, however, is not her first big achievement. In February 2009 Matlou became the first South African player to be named the CAF Female Player of the Year.

Matlou has scored 48 goals from 61 appearances in the national team colours. When asked about her future, she admitted she still harbours dreams to play overseas.

“Right now I am concentrating on my studies, but if the opportunity arises for me to play overseas I will go. My favourite destinations would be Russia and America because I believe that is where they take women’s football seriously and I will grow as a player,” she concluded.


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