Noko lives World Cup dream

Banyana Banyana’s experienced defender Noko Matlou has described the feeling of playing in her first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup match over the weekend.

Matlou, who is the oldest player in the team, has been playing for Banyana for over 10 years and finally has the opportunity to participate on the biggest stage of them all.

The 33-year-old started alongside captain Janine van Wyk in Banyana’s opening match against Spain, which they lost 3-1 after taking the lead through a first half goal from Thembi Kgatlana.

“It was just overwhelming to be here with the Banyana team. Playing my first World Cup match was just amazing, being there with the best players on the field was just amazing. I knew the moment had arrived when we were singing the national anthem. It was overwhelming to see the stadium full like that and singing the national anthem was just amazing,” Matlou said.

“I’m happy because I have sacrifised a lot and that sacrifice today is something big. It shows that if you sacrifice a lot in life, then something good will come. This is something big I’ve waited for and I wanted to achieve it in my life.”

Banyana will take on China in their second Group B match in Paris on Thursday night (21h00).

“It’s going to be war, because every team that has qualified is tough. We have to fight and give our best. If we can do even more against China, maybe we can get something. We really need the result, because it would give us a chance to go to the second round.”