15 April 2014
South Africa’s women’s football team, Banyana Banyana, showed plenty of character to come from behind to draw 2-2 with Zimbabwe in an entertaining friendly international at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto on Saturday afternoon.
Playing under new coach Vera Pauw, South Africa fell 0-2 behind but fought their way back before a boisterous crowd to claim a deserved share of the spoils.
It was the hosts that started with lots of running, but were somehow undone by the long balls, which the Zimbabwe backline easily dealt with.
From their very first counter-attack, Zimbabwe’s Rutendo Makore got the better of Letago Madiba in a one-on-one situation. The robust Madiba was forced into bringing down Makore, leaving referee Maria Kolokotoane with little choice but to award a penalty, which Makore dispatched with ease in the seventh minute.
Sensing Banyana Banyana’s problems dealing with long balls, Zimbabwe pumped high balls in the penalty area. From one of those attacks, Marjory Nyaumwe outpaced the static home team’s defence and blasted the ball past Roxanne Barker no chance to make it 2-0.
Zimbabwe could have been 3-0 ahead, but Makore’s audacious effort moments later hit the crossbar.
Out of their shell
Banyana Banyana then came out of their shell and after good work between Refiloe Jane and Silindile Ngubane the latter’s shot hit the bar as the South Africans started to threaten the visitors.
At last, after incessant pressure, a goal came on the stroke of half-time when Ngubane’s shot gave Dzingirai no chance, making it 2-1 to the visitors at the break.
In the second half, South Africa pinned Zimbabwe pinned in their own half, but the visitors’ back four, well marshalled by Melody Musasa, stood firm.
Robyn Moodaly could have equalised for Banyana Banyana but her long range effort was brilliantly parried behind for a corner by Chido Dzingirai as Zimbabwe hung on for dear life.
Pauw’s charges then camped into the visitors’ area, but brave goalkeeping by Dzingirai frustrated the home side, with Jane seeing her effort skim the crossbar as Banyana Banyana upped the ante.
Former captain Amanda Dlamini, who was introduced as a late substitute, had a point blank header saved by Dzingirai as Zimbabweans clung onto their lead and South African pushed hard for an equaliser.
The vibrant crowd raised the tempo, cheering on the home as Banyana Banyana chased the elusive goal and the hard-running Dlamini was rewarded as South Africa made it 2-2 after Zimbabwe finally cracked under pressure.
It was a well-deserved draw for Pauw’s team, which played with more purpose and were by far the better side in the second half.
Zimbabwe could have stolen a win late in the match, but Barker produced a one- handed save from Felistas Muzongondi after the goalkeeper had been left exposed by her defence.