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Banyana end Cyprus Cup campaign with shoot-out victory

Banyana Banyana ended in 11th spot at the Cyprus Cup on Wednesday after beating Northern Ireland for the second time in the space of a few days.

After beating Northern Ireland 2-1 in their final Group C match, our national women’s soccer team had to resort to a 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory in Paralimini before clinching their spot.

In their group matches they had gone down 2-0 to Korea, and 1-0 to Ireland, before the Sasol-sponsored team beat Northern Ireland. Banyana Banyana won the shootout thanks to a great penalty save by goal minder Andile Dlamini.

Ahead of the trip to Cyprus, South Africa’s head coach Joseph Mkhonza had spoken of creating a larger pool of players and giving untested players from the Sasol┬á League a chance to prove their worth at national team level.

Two Banyana Banyana recruits Shiwe Nogwanya and Zanele Chiya are some of those who have learnt the rigours of international football.

The 22-year-old Chiya is one of the five new players called up to the national set-up for the first time and has remained positive despite not featuring in the tournament.

ÔÇ£I’m thrilled just to have been part of Banyana Banyana and the past three weeks have all been about learning for me,ÔÇØ said Chiya, a defender from the TUT Ladies team.

ÔÇ£I’ve learned how to move the ball quickly, the importance of timing when in possession and quick recovery after losing the ball. But most critically, I found that the bonding with teammates off-the-field makes the chemistry so effortless to work with during match day because of the personal and playing style understanding,ÔÇØ she added.

Nogwanya, one of the few success stories of the tournament for the Sasol-sponsored side, made her debut during the match against Northern Ireland on Monday (11 March) and believes she and her teammates learnt a lot during the trip.

ÔÇ£Things were tough out here and we had to chase most of the games after slow starts and conceding early in the match but moving forward, emphasis in our play must be to focus at all times,ÔÇØ explained Nogwanya.
She came close to scoring on two occasions against Northern Ireland when first, she could not connect with the ball from a low cross, and then had her shot smothered by the Irish goalkeeper.

The forceful 19-year old striker, who plies her trade with Bloemfontein Celtic in the Sasol League added: ÔÇ£I found things very different from club level to the international stage ÔÇô the tactics, ball work at training and moving into space at specific times during matches was a key learning area for me but I believe through hard work I will improve and be recalled for future national team camps.ÔÇØ

Other success stories to have emanated from the African silver medallists during their tour of Cyprus must be that of the young, fine talents Robyn Moodaly (midfielder) and Jermaine Seoposenwe (forward) while vice-captain Refiloe Jane played like the seasoned campaigner that she is, consistently producing a superb display in central midfield and often linking well with Mary Ntsweng and the forwards.


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