9 June 2014
Banyana Banyana overpowered Botswana 4-0 on Saturday at a packed Isak Steyl Stadium at the Vaal University of Technology in Vanderbijil Park as they began preparations for the 2014 African Women’s Championships (AWC).
The ninth edition of the AWC takes place in Namibia from 11 to 25 October.
The match was arranged after the Comoros withdrew from the second leg of their qualifier against South Africa, following a 13-0 loss to the 2012 AWC runners-up in their first leg match.
Sasol Banyana Banyana coach Vera Pauw was impressed with her team’s performance against Botswana, saying that things will get better as more matches are played.
‘The ladies played very well’
“The ladies played very well. They were comfortable in passing each other the ball and it shows that they are getting better and adapting to playing together,” she said after the game.
“I also believe we can do better than we did, so there’s still a lot of room for improvement. We are not where we want to be yet.”
South Africa scored three goals in the first half stanza of the contest and managed one in the second half.
“We just need to work on making sure that we are accurate in the final third,” Pauw added. “Yes, Botswana played a defensive game, but we also missed a couple of good chances.
“It shows that we are improving in our attack, but we need to play against opponents who play an attacking game as well, so that we can be able to test our defence.”
Striker Leandra Smeda netted two goals in the game to take her tally to six in Banyana Banyana’s past two outings. The 25-year-old, who plies her trade with the University of the Western Cape in the Sasol League, scored four goals in the 13-0 win against the Comoros.
“I am pleased with the results. We continued from where we left off against Comoros, and this shows that we are growing as a team. I’m also happy that I am finding the back of the net again,” said Smeda, who was named Diski Queen of the Match.
“I believe I have improved a lot in my game and I had a feeling before the start of the match that I was going to score. But I have to continue working hard so the goals keep on coming. I should not relax now.”
South Africa’s other goals came from Portia Modise and Ode Fulutudilu.
Banyana Banyana are in the process of arranging a tour of West Africa later this month to give the players more practice ahead of the AWC.