By NAKAMPE LEKWADU
BANYANA Banyana’s preparations for the 2012 London Olympic Games gained yet another momentum with a 5-4 victory on penalties over the visiting Ghana in a friendly international match played front of a capacity crowd who braved the chilling cold weather which was characterized by some soft drizzles at the Volkswagen Dobsonville Stadium this afternoon.
As it has been the case, destructive striker, Noko Matlou put Banyana in the lead from a penalty spot in the 22nd minute from a penalty spot. This after referee, Pamela Chiwaya ruled that a Ghanaian defender handled the ball in the defender box which saw Matlou step forward to convert easily.
Banyana who last night were honooured by sports minister Fikile Mbalula with a Gala Dinner for qualifying for their first-ever Olympic Games together with SA Women’s Hokey Team at the Emperors Palace near Kempton Park and received a cheque of a cool R1 million on the process held on to the lead through to the end of the first half.
The second half saw both sides coming strongly, however this time it was Ghana which attacked from all the ankles, looking for an equalizer to no avail.
The visitors however managed to get one in the 52nd minute via Mercy Myles who capitalized from Banyana’s defensive error.
The goal however did not bother the Joseph Mkhonza’s coached side who threw everything at their disposal to the visitors, but only to be disappointed by the likes of Matlou, Gabisile Humbani who were either shooting wide or straight into the goalkeeper’s hands.
The game ended in a 1-all draw, and Banyana had to win via penalties with all their players having converted all their kicks with their goalkeeper saving one from Ghanaian captain Florence Okoe before she could convert the deciding penalty kick.