Banyana off to a winning start
1 November 2010
Banyana Banyana got their CAF African Women's Championships campaign off to a winning start when they beat Tanzania 2-1 at Sinaba Stadium in Daveyton outside Johannesburg on Sunday.
Some might have been expecting an easy victory for South Africa after they hammered Tanzania 6-0 in a friendly in July, but it took a late penalty for the home team to beat the Tanzanians this time around.
The Twiga Stars very nearly got off to a sensational start when, from the kick-off, they were denied by the woodwork.
Although Banyana controlled the match, they found Tanzania a much more resiliant team than in their previous encounter. The Tanzanians played with a greater focus on their defence and worked hard to get numbers behind the ball, which frustrated South Africa's attacking efforts.
Tanzania coach Charles Boniface Mkwasa admitted to CAF Online that his charges' previous game against South Africa had helped him prepare the players well for Sunday's game.
"We knew the strength and weakness of our opponents and had prepared ourselves feverishly," Mkwasa said. "I'm happy with our general performance and I'm looking forward to better results in the remaining matches."
The deadlock was broken when Mamphashe Popela scored a well-taken goal in the 35th minute.
However, the excitement of the home team and its supporters was short-lived when the Banyana defence was caught off-guard, Esther Chabruma netting the equaliser for the visiting side.
The combination of Popela and striker Noko Matlou were very effective for South Africa. They created a number of scoring opportunities, but their efforts went unrewarded.
Kylie-Ann Louw was sent into the game in the late stages by coach Augustine Makalakalane and it proved to be an excellent move. Her first touch in the box won Banyana a penalty after a Tanzanian defender handled the ball.
Mamello Makhabane was handed the responsibility for the spot kick and she stood up to the pressure by slotting the kick to put Banyana back into the lead.
Banyana next face African powerhouse Nigeria, ranked number one on the continent, at Sinaba Stadium at 11:00 on Thursday.
Equatorial Guinea won the 2008 CAF Women's Championship. Previously the Nigerians won it in in 2006, 2004, 2002, 2000 and 1998.
The two African Women's Championship finalists will represent Africa at the 2011 Fifa Women's World Cup in Germany.BuaNews and SAinfo reporter