Banyana pip Tunisia in Olympic qualifier
5 April 2011
South Africa's national women's football team, Banyana Banyana, will take a one-goal advantage into their second-leg Olympic qualifier against Tunisia on 17 April after beating the north Africans by a goal to nil in Umlazi outside Durban on Saturday.
Noko Matlou continued her rich vein of goal scoring form by netting the winner two minutes into the second half at the King Zwelithini Stadium. It was her fifth goal in as many internationals.
"It was a good but difficult game," coach Joseph Mkhonza told the South African Press Association (Sapa) afterwards.
"My girls played their hearts out but were just too anxious in front of goal. We had an opportunity to score more than the one goal we got, but these things happen.
'We cannot rest on our laurels'
"I am happy we got the three points, and I believe more goals would have made our trip to Tunisia a much-relaxed one. Now, with one, we cannot rest on our laurels," Mkhonza told Sapa.
"In our next training sessions we will have to rectify our misses in front of goal but, all in all, I am happy with the performance of my players."
Matlou's goal came early in the second half after she made a strong run down the right flank. Earlier in the game she had beaten Tunisia's goalkeeper and captain Rabia Gargouch, but that effort had been ruled out after Matlou was adjudged to be offside.
Mkhonza's winning streak
The victory was South Africa's fifth win in succession since Mkhonza took over as coach. In friendlies, they have defeated Zimbabwe 3-0 and Namibia 2-1, while they have won all three of their Olympic qualifiers so far, beating Zambia 2-1 and 3-0, and now scoring a 1-0 victory over Tunisia.
South Africa's last defeat was against Equatorial Guinea in the semi-finals of the African Women's Football Championship, which was hosted by South Africa in November. Banyana finished third in the tournament after a 2-0 play-off victory over Cameroon.
Should Banyana qualify for the London Olympic Games, it would be the first time that the Rainbow Nation has achieved the feat in the women's competition.
South Africa has contested the men's competition only once previously, at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. They shocked Brazil 3-1, but missed out on moving beyond the group stages following 2-1 losses to both Japan and Slovakia.
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