Abuja Loss Strains Olympic Hopes

South Africa’s senior women’s soccer team has suffered a second humiliating defeat at the hands of Nigeria’s Super Falcons, who capitalised on heavy rain and poor defensive play to walk to a comprehensive 5-0 win in Abuja, Nigeria, on Saturday.

Banyana Banyana were hopeful of a good start to their first round-robin match in the final round of African Olympic qualifiers, after making it through to the final round together with Ghana, Ethiopia and Nigeria.
The South African side have faired well against Ghana and Ethiopia, and are fully expected to beat them in the successive two home-leg matches in August, but their recent form against a rampant Nigeria is concerning.
Added to the four-nil loss in last week’s All Africa Games final, Banyana have conceded nine goals to Nigeria’s Super Falcons, without disturbing the scorer once.
Saturday’s opening match of the Olympic qualifiers kicked off under torrential rain, but defensive errors game the game away.
“The team played well going forward, but unfortunately when they (Nigeria) attacked, they just managed again to score some very silly goals,” team manager Fran Hilton-Smith told gsport. “We’re certainly feeling the loss of Rose Jijane and Janine van Wyk.”
Africa is allotted one-and-a-half slots in the Olympic Games, with the top team in this round-robin tournament gaining automatics qualification to next year’s Beijing spectacular, while the second-placed team has the unenviable prospect of entry in a one-off against South American contender Brazil.
“Well, it’s looking very tough now to get first place,” said a downcast Hilton-Smith. “We’d have to beat them six-nil in the return leg, which I don’t see happening, so we need to look at solidifying our second position, and of course hope that we can win the balance of our games, and hope that they loose one… Yeah, there’s still a long way to go.Round-Robin Olympic Qualifiers:
Sat 28 July: Banyana Banyana 0-5 Nigeria (Abuja)
Sat 11 Aug: Banyana Banyana vs Ethiopia (Pretoria)
Sat 25 Aug: Banyana Banyana vs Ghana (Pretoria)
Break until December 2007, when Return Legs Commence

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Launched in 2006, gsport exists to enhance the commercial prospects of our women athletes, and other women in sport, by telling the inspiring story of SA women in sport. Thank you for your contribution!

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