It’s probably her last Caf Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) tournament as a Banyana Banyana player, and the eagerness to lift the trophy is just burning in defender Noko Matlou’s body.
At 36-years old, Matlou is a very experienced player in the Banyana squad who has been played at three WAFCON’s, and all three Banyana earned the tagline of being bridesmaids having finished as runners-up of the competition, taking the tally to five times.
ALSO READ: Chiefs congratulate Sifama for Bafana call-up
Matlou, who is a former African Woman Footballer of the Year (2008), knows best the pain of having to finish in second place and coming close to Banyana winning their first continental tournament.
The team goes on a journey for African success once again with a meeting against rivals Nigeria in their opening game of the WAFCON in Group C in Rabat, Morocco on Monday, and all Matlou can say is, focus, determination and unity will help the team prevail in the tournament.
“We have come close (to winning the tournament) so many times and it has been heartbreaking. It’s not nice finishing as second best, especially in such a tournament like the WAFCON, a continental tournament which every nation wishes to win at some point. But, what we have to do now is to focus and forget about what happened in the past. We have to look into the future because now things have changed and the Banyana players have changed,” said the Spain based player, who plays her football for SD Eibar and just renewed her contract with the club for another season.
“We know what we are coming up against in Nigeria, we have faced them so many times before and in those times, it’s been really competitive between us. They know as well when they have to face Banyana it’s a different story for them. They have to prepare really hard because we give them a very difficult time and they also give us a tough time. But, we have prepared really well and everyone is just ready for the match.”
The Polokwane based defender reckons the Banyana squad is now at a point where players have a vast of international experience and that will help them in the tournament.