14 March 2013
Banyana Banyana finished in 11th place in the Cyprus Cup on Wednesday after defeating Northern Ireland 5-4 in a penalty shootout at the Tasos Markou Stadium in Paralimini.
In the group stages, after going down 2-0 to South Korea, 1-0 to Ireland, and defeating Northern Ireland 2-1, Banyana had to face Northern Ireland again to decide 11th and 12th positions.
The contest, which was tied at 1-1 before it went to a shootout, was ultimately decided by a superb penalty save from goalkeeper Andile Dlamini.
Ahead of the trip to Cyprus, South Africa’s coach Joseph Mkhonza spoke of creating a larger pool of players and giving untested players from the Sasol League a chance to prove their worth at national team level.
Zanele Chiya was one of the five new players called up to the national set-up for the first time and remained positive despite not featuring in the tournament.
“I’m thrilled just to have been part of Banyana Banyana and the past three weeks have all been about learning for me,” said Chiya, a defender from the TUT Ladies team.
“I’ve learned how to move the ball quickly, the importance of timing when in possession, and quick recovery after losing the ball. But most critically, I found that the bonding with teammates off-the-field makes the chemistry so effortless to work with during match day because of the personal and playing style understanding,” she added.
Shiwe Nogwanya, one of the few success stories of the tournament for the Sasol-sponsored side, made her debut during the match against Northern Ireland on Monday and believes she and her teammates learnt a lot during the trip.
“Things were tough out here and we had to chase most of the games after slow starts and conceding early in the match, but moving forward, emphasis in our play must be to focus at all times,” explained Nogwanya.
She came close to scoring on two occasions against Northern Ireland when first, she could not connect with the ball from a low cross, and then had her shot smothered by the Irish goalkeeper.
The forceful 19-year old striker, who plies her trade with Bloemfontein Celtic in the Sasol League, added: “I found things very different from club level to the international stage – the tactics, ball work at training and moving into space at specific times during matches was a key learning area for me, but I believe through hard work I will improve and be recalled for future national team camps.”
There were a number of other success stories for Banyana Banyana on their tour of Cyprus, including the play of teens Robyn Moodaly and Jermaine Seoposenwe, vice-captain Refiloe Jane, who performed superbly in the midfield and often linked well with winger Mary Ntsweng and the forwards.
- 11th /12th South Africa 1-1 (5-4) Northern Ireland
- 9th/10th South Korea 0-1 Italy
- 7th/8th Republic of Ireland 0-1 Finland
- 5th/6th Scotland 1-0 The Netherlands
- 3rd/4th New Zealand 2-1 Switzerland
- 1st/2nd England 1-0 Canada
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