Coach Mkhonza upbeat ahead of Banyana's next Cup clash | SASCOC - SASCOC
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Coach Mkhonza upbeat ahead of Banyana’s next Cup clash

Despite a 2-0 defeat to South Korea in their opening Cyprus Cup match this week, Banyana Banyana head coach Joseph Mkhonza remains confident of finishing in a good position.

Korea scored a goal in each half to go second in Group C behind Republic of Ireland who hammered Northern Ireland 5-1 in the other group match played on Wednesday night.

Now the South Africans come up against the Republic of Ireland on Friday (2.30pm SA time).

Mkhonza, the current South African Coach of the Year who led Banyana Banyana to the 2012 London Olympics and to a runners-up finish at the 2012 African Woman’s Championship (AWC), may have been disappointed at the end of the match but quickly picked himself up. He also lifted the spirits of the Sasol-sponsored girls in encouragement that they can still turn things around in the tournament.

ÔÇ£We started brightly in the opening 10 minutes but soon after we gave away a soft goal from a defensive mistake and miscommunication between our goalkeeper and right fullback. What is pleasing is that the girls fought back bravely and regrouped, but it was too late,ÔÇØ said Mkhonza.

Banyana Banyana accepted the invitation to participate in the tournament (South Africa is in its fourth year of the tournament ÔÇô they finished 10th out of 12 teams in 2012), to prepare for the upcoming AWC qualifiers and also create a large pool of players by trying out emerging talent such as Robyn Moodaly, Gloria Thato and Shiwe Nogwanya to name but a few.

ÔÇ£Our objectives can’t change overnight because of our opening day defeat. We will continue to look at giving other players a chance, especially in midfield and upfront to also gain experience, and for us to see how they can handle themselves at this international level looking ahead of the qualifiers starting later this year,ÔÇØ he said.

ÔÇ£We learned the hard way from our defeat. For our next match we will look at pushing up from midfield and supplying our forwards quickly to also force the opposition into making mistakes for us to profit from. I watched Northern Ireland and I believe they are beatable if we knock the ball around and into space on the wings where they are not very strong,ÔÇØ concluded Mkhonza.


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