BY ELLIOT MATHYE
Banyana Banyana players of 2010’s mix of youth and experience, plus improved physical and mental strength, will be key elements when the take on Nigeria in a CAF African Women Championship Group A fixture at the Sinaba stadium in Daveyton, on Thursday 4 November.
Although the match is scheduled for 11am, a large crowd is expected to come out in support of the Sasol-sponsored Banyana
The quenns of diski, who started their campaign on a winning note by defeating Tanzania 2-1 at the same venue when the two clashed, is ranked third in Africa and 57th on the
FIFA world rankings, compared to their top ranked north African opponents, who occupy 28th spot on the world list.
Banyana head coach Augustine ‘Mthakathi” Makalakane will be the first to acknowledge that these rankings and other statistics are merely a drop in an ocean when it comes to a championship knockout fixture.
“The spirit in the Banyana Banyana camp is high and the squad of 21 players are pushing hard in training to get a spot in the starting line up, but being on the bench is just as crucial as these substitute players will have key roles to play to lift the team further in the latter half of the match,”.
The home team was present in Mali’s burial by the powerhouse Nigeria in a match which ended by a score of 5-0 on November 1 at the same venue. Makalakalane and his coaching staff will have prepared well enough to find ways and means to shut down the Nigerian midfield and lethal strike-force.
On the same note, Nigeria must expect a 90 minutes of good football from the likes of African Player of the Year, Noko Matlou (35 goals in 41 international matches).
Apart from Matlou, striker Momphashe Popela has scored in each of her past two outings, and left-sided midfielder Mamello Makhabane – who scored the winning goal from the penalty spot against Tanzania, has taken her game to a next level.
Banyana are step closer to their concluding dream of making it to the tournament final and qualifying for their debut at the FIFA women’s World Cup to be held in Germany in June next year.