14 July 2014
Banyana Banyana played to a goalless draw against Zimbabwe at the Rufaro Stadium in Harare on Friday in an international friendly. South Africa entered the clash fresh off a 2-1 win over Africa Women’s Championship hosts Namibia in Windhoek a week earlier.
Coach Vera Pauw made two changes in defence from the team that faced the Namibians, bringing in Lebogang Ramalepe at right back, while Gloria Thato took over on the other side of the field at left back.
The match was played on an artificial turf and the home side started at a high tempo, forcing Sasol Banyana Banyana to concede a corner in the opening seconds of the match.
South Africa, though, were the first to find the back of the net in the 10th minute, but Refiloe Jane’s effort was ruled off-side.
The Mighty Warriors responded well and piled pressure on Banyana Banyana, getting off a couple of shots on target, but South African goalkeeper Thoko Mndaweni made some fine saves to deny the Zimbabweans a reward.
After the break, Banyana Banyana had a chance to open the scoring when Jane made a good connection with the ball from inside the box in the 50th minute, but her header was directed into the Zimbabwean goalkeeper’s hands.
Leandra Smeda almost stole a win for Banyana Banyana with three minutes of play remaining, but it was not to be as the match ended in a stalemate.
In their previous match against Zimbabwe, played at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto in April, Banyana Banyana had to come back from two goals down to draw 2- 2.
In May, they qualified for the African Women’s Championship (AWC) after the Comoros withdrew from qualifying following a 13-0 thrashing at the hands of South Africa in the first leg of their qualifiers against the 2012 AWC runners-up.
The following month, June, Banyana defeated Botswana 4-0 in Vanderbijlpark in the first of a number of friendly matches the team will play to prepare for the AWC, which takes place from 11 to 25 October.