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Banyana go down

Our Banyana Banyana women’s football side ended their Cyprus Women’s Cup campaign with a 2-0 defeat against Scotland on Tuesday.

The result means they ended 10th in the 12-team competition. Already having qualified for the Olympic Games in London later this year, coach Joseph Mkonza and his team were using the tournament as valuable international build-up to the Games.

They’ll return home having lost 2-1 to South Korea, drawn 0-0 against New Zealand and beating Northern Ireland 2-0 in their group fixtures.

The game was played in cold conditions and against a classy Scottish side ranked higher than them South Africans can take heart from a gutsy display. Scotland are ranked 22nd in the world compared to the 44th place that Banyana occupy.

Kim Little, who plays for English side Arsenal Ladies, scored both the Scottish goals. In the eighth minute she she got away from right back Simphiwe Masina and following a short passing movement with her midfielders, shot home past Banyana Banyana ‘keeper Roxanne Barker.

Banyana Banyana battled to match the aerial onslaught of the tall Scotland players, and in the 25th minute a shot at the SA goal struck the arm of central defender Amanda Sister and Little scored her second goal, from the penalty spot.

But the introduction of strikers Noko Matlou (for Sanah Mollo) and Andisiwe Mgcoyi (for Nondyebo Mgudu) at the start of the second half, saw the South African midfield and attack regain its shape with the girls in yellow-and-green having the better of the goal-scoring chances and possession for the remainder of the match.

Luck was not with Banyana Banyana as Nomathemba Ntsibande, who scored twice in her team’s 2-0 win over Northern Ireland, saw her strike from 25 metres out beat goalkeeper Jennifer Beattie and rebound back into play off the crossbar.

Following the win over Northern Ireland on Sunday, Mkhonza opted to give game time to USA-based goalkeeper Barker (in for Thoko Mndaweni), while Zamandosi Cele played at centre back in place of the injured Janine van Wyk. Masina took over from Cele as right back defender.

In midfield, Mgudu started on the right wing, with Kylie-Ann Louw in the middle of the park, allowing for captain Amanda Dlamini to partner Mollo up front. ÔÇ£Papers and rankings don’t mean anything when you get on to the playing pitch,ÔÇØ said Banyana Banyana captain Dlamini.

ÔÇ£We lost a bit of concentration in the early part of the first half and got punished by the two goals that Scotland scored, but we looked solid in the second half when we played the ball on the ground which is our strength. Sasol and SAFA need to be commended for allowing Banyana Banyana to spend 11 days training and playing matches in Brazil before taking on some of the world’s top teams at the Cyprus Women’s Cup.ÔÇØ


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