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Banyana win again

The Banyana Banyana women’s football side recorded their eighth victory in nine matches this year, with a convincing 4-0 win over Botswana in a Group B fixture of the COSAFA Women’s Championship played at the Gwanzura stadium in Harare on Sunday.

The win was Banyana Banyana’s second victory in the space of 24 hours, having beaten Zambia 4-1 in their opening group fixture on Saturday. The win was all the sweeter for the South Africans with Botswana having been the only team to beat them via a 1-0 scoreline in an All-Africa Games qualifier played in Polokwane earlier this year.

Following Saturday’s win over Zambia, Gabisile Hlumbane dropped from midfield to left-back, with left back defender Nothando Vilakazi moving to left side striker. Midfielders Mary Ntsweng and Nomathemba Ntsibande dropped to the bench, with Yola Jafta moving into an anchor role in the centre of midfield.

Experienced midfielder Mamello Makhabane, who along with Janine van Wyk played key roles in helping Palace Super Falcons to their second successive Sasol League National Title in Bloemfontein a week ago, also made her first appearance of the tournament, adding much attacking flair to the Banyana Banyana arsenal.

Team captain Amanda Dlamini scored her second goal of the tournament ÔÇô the only goal of the first half ÔÇô after firing home in the 16th minute having received a defence splitting pass from Makhabane.

Seven minutes after the interval, Noko Matlou scored her third goal of the tournament and her 48th strike in a Banyana Banyana jersey, as she hit a right-footed effort from a tight angle on the left-hand side of the field, with the ball looping home over Botswana goalkeeper Kagiso Ramogerita.

Had it not been for Ramogerita’s superb goalkeeping, the score could easily have neared the double figure mark, but the Botswana gloves lady had no answer to a rasping effort from Makhabane which found the net with 20 minutes of play left, after some fine build up work from substitute Ntsweng.

Credit must go to caretaker coach Mkhonza who has interchanged strikers Matlou Dlamini to such an extent that plotting a game plan to neutralise the Banyana Banyan strikers has become a nightmare for opposing coaches.

University of Johannesburg FC striker Zanele Sukazi, who made her Banyana Banyana debut the previous day, came on as a second half substitute and scored in the dying moments of the match, with a well-taken finish on the right hand side of the Botswana goal box.

ÔÇ£We beaten Banyana Banyana 4-0 on an artificial pitch in Gaborone in the return leg All-Africa Games fixture a few weeks back, so had some idea of what to expect from their players, but we take each game as a new challenge and I am proud of the effort put in by our players today,ÔÇØ said Mkhonza afterwards.

The South Africans return to the Gwanzura stadium on Tuesday for their final Group B fixture, but will have to face Tanzania without the services of midfielder Jafta, who was unlucky to be sent from the field by referee Pamela Chiwaya for what seemed a fair tackle.


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