BY ELLIOT MATHYE
Banyana Banyana got their CAF African Women Championship campaign off to a good start, beating Tanzania 2-1 in the opening match played in Daveyton’ Sinaba Stadium on Sunday, October 31.
Most fans were anticipating an easy victory for Banyana after having hammered Tanzania 6-0 in a friendly international two months ago, but it took a late penalty for the home team to beat the Tanzanians this time around.
Although Banyana had the upper hand of the match, they could have been punished right in the beginning of the game when Tanzania was denied by the woodwork. The Tanzanians played with a greater focus on their defense and worked hard to get numbers behind the ball, which frustrated Banyana’s attacking efforts.
Tanzania’s coach Charles Boniface Mkwasa admitted that his previous friendly match against Banyana helped him to prepare his players for this opening match.
He said: “We knew the strength and weakness of our opponents and had prepared ourselves feverishly. I’m happy with our general performance and I’m looking forward to better results in the next two group matches.”
Mamphashe Popela broke the deadlock in the 35th minute of the game with a well taken strike.
However, Tanzanian striker, Esther Chabruma ended the celebrations from Banyana fans when she levelled the matters just minutes later.
Dreadlocked coach, Augustine “Mthakathi” Makalakalane made some tactical changes to his team, and his decision was proved to be the best. The combination of Popela and striker Noko “Terminator” Matlou were very effective for the home side as the duo created a number of scoring opportunities, but their thirst for goal was unrewarded.
Banyana were back in the driving seat after Tanzanian defender handled the ball in the penalty box. Mamello Makhabane made no mistake as she step forward to take the spot kick, giving South African fans something to get them back on their feet.
Banyana’s next game is against strong opponents, Nigeria who are ranked number 1 on the African continent on Thursday, November 4 at the same venue.