By FOCUS REPORTER
Second half goals from CAF African Footballer of the Year 2009 Noko Matlou and substitute Nocawe Skiti allowed Banyana Banyana to run out 2-1 winners over Namibia in an international friendly match in front of a large crowd at the Danie Kuys Stadium in Upington, in the Northern Cape on Saturday.
Banyana Banyana had the better of the first half in terms of possession and attacking opportunities, with Matlou and fellow striker and team captain Amanda Dlamini creating havoc among the Namibian defence but unable to get the ball past Namibian goalkeeper Susana Eises.
Matlou fired the hosts into the lead 15 minutes into the second half contributing her fourth goal in the last four matches. This was also her thirty eighth goal in 52 international appearances.
Skiti, who plays a key midfield role for log-leaders Cape Town Roses in the Sasol League (Western Cape), took advantage of a period of relentless pressure put on the Namibian defence to mark her return to the national team line up after a lengthily layoff due to injury.
Banyana Banyana goalkeeper Thoko Mndaweni was in fine form, making several saves, with her dive at the feet of Thomalina Adams blunting an almost certain goal-scoring chance.
Mndaweni, who plays her football for Croesus Ladies in the Gauteng Sasol League, would not have been impressed by the poor marking by her central defenders which allowed Rejoice Kasoana to head home from a short corner with seven minutes of play remaining – a fact not missed by Banyana Banyana caretaker coach Joseph Mkhonza.
“I was impressed with the way in which the Banyana Banyana defence handled the Namibian attackers, but the marking let us down later on as we conceded a soft goal in the closing stages of the match,” said Mkhonza after his team recorded their fourth consecutive win since he took charge in December last year.
“We will take all the positive lessons learnt and work on the game plan for our next outing against Tunisia in an Olympic Qualifier in Durban on April 2. I told the players at halftime to keep taking the fight to the Namibians. Even during the week, I told the players not to be content to be on the substitutes bench and to challenge for places in the starting line up. They are showing character on the field.”