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Van Wyk’s strike sends Banyana into the final

A great strike from Janine van Wyk saw our Banyana Banyana soccer side to a 1-0 win over top-ranked African side Nigeria and book themselves a place in Sunday’s final of the 8th CAF African Women Championship 2012 at the Bata stadium in Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday evening.

Central defender Van Wyk scored the all-important goal in the 23rd minute, after the Nigerians failed to clear their lines from a South African corner kick situation, and Van Wyk was on hand to strike from 25 metres out with her left foot, and watch as it dipped in off the underside of the crossbar and past Nigerian goalkeeper and captain Precious Dede.

The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana will now face Equatorial Guinea in the grand finale of this year’s tournament in Malabo on Sunday after the hosts defeated Cameroon 2-0 in the first semi-final played earlier in the day. The South African victory marked the Rainbow Nation team’s first triumph over Nigeria since Banyana Banyana made their international debut in 1993.

Particularly in the second half, the Nigerians came to the fore with attacking play but found Banjyana Banyana goalkeeper Thoko Mndaweni in fine form between the posts at the SA end of the field.

The Nigerian attacks were often neutralised by some fine SA defensive work with Liverpool Ladies centre back Amanda Sister (Sasol League Eastern Cape) combining superbly with Palace Super Falcons star Van Wyk (Sasol League Gauteng) in the heart of the Banyana Banyana defence. They were well aided by fullbacks in Gabisile Hlumbane of Kovsies Ladies (Sasol League Free State) and Van Wyk’s club-mate Nothando Vilakazi.

With the speed of Spurs Ladies WFC (Sasol League Western Cape) striker Jermaine Seoposenwe a major problem for the Nigerian rearguard, and with the experienced Portia Modise dominating the midfield tussles along with captain Amanda Dlamini and tough-tackling young Refiloe Jane, the South Africans saved their best performance at the tournament thus far for the clash with the Nigerians.

Van Wyk is becoming a thorn in Nigeria’s flesh from a goal-scoring perspective, having netted with a superb free kick against the Super Falcons at the CAF African Women Championship 2012 held in Ekurhuleni, near Johannesburg.

ÔÇ£I have been in the Banyana Banyana side since 2004 and we have tried for so long to beat the Nigerians but luck has never been on our side, but now we have proved that we can compete and beat of the best on the continent,ÔÇØ said Van Wyk, whose strike was her ninth in a Banyana Banyana jersey.ÔÇ¿┬áÔÇ¿Banyana Banyana head coach Joseph Mkhonza said: ÔÇ£Seeing Banyana Banyana beat Nigeria for the first time in our team’s history has left us with an amazing sense of prize and confidence ahead of Sunday’s final against the hosts Equatorial Guinea. All of our players need to be commended for their commitment and discipline shown.

ÔÇ£We had to pick ourselves up after the opening match defeat against Equatorial Guinea and have applied ourselves to beat Senegal, the Democratic Republic of Congo and now Nigeria. We have some homework to do before Sunday’s final, knowing we will play in front of a large red-clad crowd in what is certain to be a packed Malabo stadium, but we will be ready for the challenge,ÔÇØ added Mkhonza.


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