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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 August, 2003, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
Arsenal targets SA ladies
By Mohammed Allie
BBC Sport, Cape Town

Veronica Phewa
Phewa was impressive during the trials

Four South African female internationals are on the verge of joining English club Arsenal.

Portia Modise, Veronica Phewa,Tanya Carelse and 15-year old Mpumi Nyandeni, were invited to join the Gunners after impressing the club's coaches during their one-week trial.

The four players would be the first South African women to secure contracts with a European side.

"They performed excellently and impressed the Arsenal management with their skills," said South African national team manager Fran Hilton-Smith, who accompanied the girls to London.

Phewa, South Africa's leading scorer, grabbed five goals in Arsenal's win over Langford.

Modise also scored two goals in a 3-0 win over a visiting Japanese team.

I'm very excited about playing for the Arsenal ladies
Tanya Carelse

Hilton-Smith said the players were concluding arrangements with Arsenal with regard to their accommodation and education.

"They also need to finalise the details with their parents, clubs and managers," she said.

The four are expected to join Arsenal after featuring in an international friendly match against China in September.

Carelse said she is thrilled by the prospect of starting a career in England.

"I'm very excited about playing for the Arsenal ladies. They made us feel very welcome.

"To be honest, I didn't expect them to sign me but I think they were impressed by our footwork and strength," she added.

Hilton-Smith revealed that the success of the four ladies is likely to open doors for other South African players.

"I think there are many more opportunities for our girls to play overseas with other clubs. We certainly have the talent here," she said.


SEE ALSO
Gunners try SA women
12 Aug 03  |  African



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