By FOCUS REPORTER
BANYANA Banyana can pack their bags for the All-Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique
in September, after recording a convincing 4-0 victory over Botswana, in a match
played on an artificial surface near Gaborone on Sunday.
National caretaker coach Joseph Mkhonza started the match with an attacking four
defenders, three midfielders and three strikers formation in search of goals to wipe
out the 1-0 deficit from the first leg fixture played in Polokwane 11 days earlier.
More so, Mkhonza’s surprise was in playing regular left-back Nothando Vilakazi as a
left-sided striker, along with centre forward and captain Amanda Dlamini, plus
right-side attacker Noko Matlou.
But Vilakazi, who bore much of the brunt for a defensive error that allowed Botswana
to score in Polokwane, came to the party in providing a superb cross in the third
minute, to allow Matlou to score her 42nd goals in 56 Banyana Banyana appearances
with a glancing header.
Botswana seemed to have no answer to the relentless Banyana Banyana onslaught and a
long ball eluded the home team’s defenders, with Dlamini running on to the
possession to fire home in the 23rd minute.
Three minutes later, the match was all but over as a contest with the Botswana
defenders unable to clear the ball from a Banyana Banyana corner kick, resulting in
midfielder Mary Ntsweng forcing the ball over the goal-line in a crowded penalty
Another period of Banyana Banyana pressure, including some good build up play by
second half substitute midfielder Robyn Moodaly, allowed Matlou to slot home her
second goal of the afternoon with 8 minutes of play remaining
“The game plan was always to attack and create enough pressure to get a healthy lead
by half-time which would drain Botswana both physically and mentally in the second
half of the match,” said a delighted coach Mkhonza afterwards.
“South Africa, our sponsor Sasol and SAFA can be proud of the Banyana Banyana who
came back from much disappointment after losing in Polokwane to Botswana, and being
able to raise themselves to win on an artificial pitch here.”
The Banyana Banyana line up, strengthened by the return from injury of goalkeeper
Thoko Mndaweni, defender Janine van Wyk and midfielder Mamello Makhabane, were too
classy on the day for the Botswana line up.
Having played seven matches (of which they won six) in five months this year, the
players will turn their attention to club action with the Sasol League National
Championships to be held in June.
Banyana Banyana’s next major international commitment will be Olympic Qualifier
matches to be played against Ethiopia on a home and away basis in August, with the
winning team qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics.