4 March 2013
South Africa’s women’s football team, Banyana Banyana, turned in a strong performance to draw 2-2 with New Zealand in a friendly match at the Larnaca Sports Ground in Cyprus on Saturday ahead of the 2013 Cyprus Women’s Cup.
The 12-Nation Cyprus Women’s Cup takes place from 6 to 13 March.
The South African team had fight back from an early goal down against the Black Caps ladies. They equalised through winger Mary Ntsweng before the impressive Jermaine Seoposenwe netted a second Banyana goal off a rebound after the New Zealand goalkeeper had saved a fierce shot by Janine van Wyk.
Banyana, ranked 56th by Fifa, were heading for a win over the 21st ranked New Zealanders, but the Kiwis found an equaliser towards the end of the match through an own goal, off the hip of Banyana Banyana defender Nothando Vilakazi, to make the final score 2-2.
‘Very rusty early on’
Commenting after the game, Banyana Banyana coach Joseph Mkhonza said: “We looked shaky and very rusty early on, which was understandable as we haven’t played competitively in nearly three months, but I was glad to see the girls gain confidence and play to instructions as the match progressed and then go on to hold this good New Zealand side.
“Having arrived in Cyprus last Tuesday, we’ve quickly managed to familiarise ourselves with the usually chilly conditions we face in the mornings and evenings, while the tactical training we have implemented on the girls seems to be progressing nicely thus far.
“We are grateful to Safa and Sasol for providing us with the opportunity of performing at this level again this year,” he added.
There has been a change in the leadership of the team, with midfield star Amanda Dlamini choosing to step down as captain. She has been replaced by Janine van Wyk, the most experience player in the side, in the interim, until a new captain has been decided upon by the side’s technical team.
Dlamini, who is a student at the University of Johannesburg and in her third year of study in Transport Management, said she needed to fully commit to her studies in a crucial academic year of study while also concentrate on improving her game without the huge responsibilities that come with leading Banyana Banyana.
“It has truly been an amazing journey leading the team for the past three years and my position as captain has opened a lot of doors for me while on the field of play,” she said in a statement.
“I led Banyana Banyana during one of our most successful eras, which saw us make history and qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.
‘Support and guidance’
“I wish the next captain all the best in leading such an amazing bunch of talented and committed girls. As a senior member of the team I will continue to give my support and guidance where it is needed.”
Dlamini, who was captain of Banyana from 2010 through 2013, has made 60 appearances for the national team and scored 19 goals.
Coach Mkhonza said: “When we first heard the news from Amanda we were all quite shocked and disappointed, but we fully accept her decision and have supported her during this time.
“She has made a name for herself during the time she led the team. She showed good leadership qualities and saw the team through many successes, which include participating in the Olympics and playing in the final of the African Women’s Championship in Equatorial Guinea last year.”
The Cyprus Cup kicks off on Wednesday, 6 March. South Africa’s group also includes South Korea, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
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