Banyana aim to topple Holland
Posted: 12 March 2009 Time: 09:41
Banyana Banyana face Holland in the play-off match for fifth position in the 2009 Eight Nations Cup in Cyprus at Nicosia’s GSP Stadium today.
“We will definitely put our best foot forward to finish in fifth position. Against France on Tuesday, despite losing 3-2 we started a bit slow. France like to play with a lot of flair, like us. However, the speed of their players put us a little on the back foot in the beginning,” says Banyana coach Augustine Makalakalane. South Africa suffered an injury to goalkeeper Mukondi Mulaudzi forcing coach Makalakalane to field defender Lena Mosebo between the posts during the match. The second goalkeeper, Portia Mmakola, had not been considered for the game due to a concussion suffered earlier during training. “We even had two goals disallowed,” says Makalakalane, “sadly, we left it too late, but we really showed a lot of determination by reversing the pressure back onto France. But the less I talk about the standard of the refereeing the better.” Banyana hosted the Dutch women’s team in South Africa back in August, losing 2-1 at Tshwane’s Caledonian Stadium. “We have a last chance to test ourselves against some of the top teams in the world. Tactically we can compete, but we struggle when it comes to the physical strengths of our players,” Makalakalane explains. “We have tested our team against World Cup participating countries and we have realised that the gap between nations like France and ourselves is not that big.” Goalkeeper Mulaudzi is in a race against time to recover from her knee injury. Defender Janine van Wyk is also suffering from a knee injury and will await a late fitness test. “The Dutch have a very competitive side,” says Banyana striker, Amanda Dlamini who scored against Holland last year. “They are extremely fit, they love running with the ball and their passing is deadly. It felt amazing to score against a top nation in the world of women’s football like Holland, especially as my whole family was there to see the match. I would love to score again tomorrow; hopefully I will provide the match winner this time.” Holland is ranked 11th on the Fifa rankings while Banyana is in 58th spot. The match kicks off at 14h30.