The South African Senior Women’s National Team (Banyana Banyana) headed back to training on Saturday after their 1-0 victory over Belgium on Friday afternoon in the Cyprus Women’s Cup. They still have another match to play in Group C, against the Czech Republic. The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana have played two matches thus far, losing 2-0 to Mexico in their opening match on Wednesday.
Midfielder and former captain Amanda Dlamini said: ‘It was a very tough game against Belgium, they gave us a good run and that is what we needed as a team, to compete with the best in Europe. The match was very challenging in all departments, we ran very hard in both halves. We did well in creating chances, and one of them resulting in a goal. We could have converted more but we are satisfied with the win and we know we can improve from here. It will get better with time, and after a big like game this we can get big-headed but we need to refocus as we have one more game to go in the group stages. We must again strategize as to how we are going to face our opponents, and plan thoroughly, like we did against Belgium and I believe we can do well in that match.’ Head coach of Banyana Banyana Vera Pauw was ecstatic that the hard work that started months ago is slowly starting to pay-off: ‘It was a tense game especially late in the match because this is one of the top countries in women’s football. Although they are not going to the FIFA Women’s World Cup they were very close, so we have won against one of the big nations and that is fantastic because the game was in our hands and we could take a lot of initiative. We showed that we could be dangerous in midfield and we could have scored three or more goals. It was a good display and we needed the win. Also, the maturity of the team shows we can change from the different systems with ease during the game. This is a huge compliment and gives confidence to the players that we can beat top nations not by luck but having a strategy that works. It feels good to see the work that started 10 months ago starting to pay off, we have a bright future as a team. I have always said that we are so mobile, and if we can get that into team work, we can grow to the top.’ The only injury concern in the team is of midfielder Nompumelelo Nyandeni who was pulled off after a tackle in the second half.
Although it does not look serious, she did not train with the rest of the team and the medical team is keeping a close watch on her. The team was given the afternoon off and will return to training on Sunday to complete preparations for the clash with the Czech Republic. Kick-off is at 14:30.