5 June 2012
South Africa’s national women’s football team, Banyana Banyana, recorded a good 1-1 draw with continental powerhouse Nigeria in a friendly international played at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Phokeng, near Rustenburg on Sunday.
Sadly, the good result against the African champions was undermined by Bafana Bafana’s disappointing 1-1 draw against 138th ranked Ethiopia, which captured most of the headlines.
The Nigerian side was considerably different to the one that lifted the African Women’s Championship title in South Africa in 2010 after defeating Equatorial Guinea 4-2 in the final, but they brought with them the pedigree of a nation that has won eight out of nine African Women’s Championships.
South Africa dominated the first half and came closest to scoring when captain Amanda Dlamini headed a cross from Nonthando Vilakazi wide of goal.
However, against the run of play, it was experienced striker Stella Chinyere who put the visitors ahead in the 62nd minute when she ran onto a long ball and raced into the home team’s penalty area before slotting the ball past Banyana Banyana goalkeeper Roxanne Barker.
Down by a goal, Banyana showed fight and took the game to the Nigerians. They were rewarded with a goal 12 minutes from time.
In-form Portia Modise struck for the third time in three matches from close range after getting onto the end of the cross from the left. It was her 69th goal in 90 internationals.
Nigeria’s coach Kadiri Ikhana, who was in charge of the Super Falcons for only the second time, told The Sowetan after the match that South Africa needed to improve its performance in the final third of the field.
“I think their attack is zero, as far as I’m concerned,” he opined. “They have some quality players, but need to work hard to boost their attack.
“I think South Africa still have work to do,” Ikhana said about South Africa’s participation in the 2012 London Olympic Games.
‘They will have to work harder’
“They have to work harder because they will be representing Africa.”
Banyana and the Super Falcons meet in another friendly on 23 June in Abuja, Nigeria.
Before that game, South Africa face Zambia in an African Women’s Championship qualifier return leg fixture in Nelspruit on 16 June.
Banyana won the first leg match 4-1 in Lusaka in May.
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