BANYANA Banyana battled the cold conditions and a classy Scottish side, going down 2-0 in a defeat that saw them end in 10th place at the Cyprus Women’s Cup on Tuesday.
Kim Little, who plays for Arsenal Ladies in England, scored both goals for Scotland, as she powered away from right back Simphiwe Masina. Following a short passing movement with her midfielders, Little fired home past Banyana Banyana goalkeeper Roxanne Barker in the 8th minute of the match.
With Banyana Banyana battling to match the aerial onslaught form the tall Scotland players, a shot at the South Africa goal struck the arm of central defender Amanda Sister and Little scored from the penalty spot in the 25th minute.
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 in the second 45 minutes.
Luck was not with Banyana Banyana as Nomathemba Ntsibande, who scored twice in her team’s 2-0 win over Northern Ireland on Sunday, saw her strike from 25 metres out beat goalkeeper Jennifer Beattie and rebound back into play off the crossbar.
Banyana Banyana head coach Joseph Mkhonza made some changes to the team that defeated Northern Ireland – giving game time to USA-based Peperdine University 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.
“Papers and rankings don’t mean anything when you get on to the playing pitch,” said Banyana Banyana captain Dlamini, in reference to her team’s 66th place on the FIFA world rankings, to the 22nd spot occupied by Scotland.
“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.”