Martha Makoma takes the ball up for South Africa against Celia Wate of Mozambique in their international friendly at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville, Tshwane, on Saturday, 20 August 2011. Photo: Barry Aldworth/Backpagepix
Banyana Banyana striker Sanah Mollo marked her return to the national senior women’s team by scoring two superb goals in the second half, as the hosts defeated Mozambique 5-0 in an international friendly match played at the Lucas “Masterpieces” Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville, Tshwane, on Saturday, 20 August 2011.

Sanah Mollo celebrated her long-awaited return to national colours with two scorching goals in Banyana Banyana’s 5-0 thumping of Mozambique on Saturday, ahead of the critical home-and-away London 2012 qualification opener against Ethiopia on Saturday. Photo: Barry Aldworth/Backpagepix

After a goal-less first 45 minutes, Mkhonza made a host of substitutions including the introduction of teenage midfielder Robyn Moodaly creating a much-needed sense of urgency in the centre of the field.

Five minutes into the second half Nomakhosi Zulu was tackled to the ground from behind by Mozambican defender Ofilia Monjane, resulting in a penalty kick. Experienced midfielder Mamello Makhabane powered the ball home twice – after the penalty had to be retaken after the match official spotted an infringement.

Mollo, was voted as the Players’ Player of the Tournament when she represented her Bloemfontein Celtics club at the Sasol League National Championships held in the Free State capital in June, and she continued her good form by finishing off some fine midfield interplay between Moodaly and Makhabane to double the home team’s lead.

This was Mollo’s first appearance of 2011 in a Banyana Banyana jersey after a long-term injury sustained during the national team’s bronze medal-winning performance at the CAF African Women Championship 2010 held in Ekurhuleni.

Some poor Mozambican defensive work allowed Nomathemba Ntsibande to score her first goal for Banyana Banyana to mark her 12th national cap, and a rasping shot from the edge of the Mozambican goal-box by Mollo soon had the South Africans’ 4-0 in the lead.

Moodaly deservedly got on the score-sheet – after firing home from close range – her first international senior level goal in nine appearances.

The coach will look back with satisfaction on a match in which Banyana Banyana showed character and commitment in the absence of regulars in strikers, captain Amanda Dlamini and Noko Matlou, plus goal-getter Zanele Sukazi and midfielder Mary Tsweng (all in action for SA at the World Student Games in China), plus midfielders in Russian-based Nompumelelo Nyandeni and US-based Kylie Ann Louw.

The win took Banyana Banyana’s 2011 statistics under the guidance of national coach Joseph Mkhonza to 11 wins from 13 matches, who will have much to ponder ahead of him announcing the Banyana Banyana team to take on Ethiopia in an Olympic Qualifier first leg encounter at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday.

“This was just the boost that the girls needed ahead of Saturday’s Olympic Qualifier against Ethiopia and I hope that the public will get their tickets early at the Sasol Delight Convenience Stores in and around Johannesburg and fill Orlando Stadium to give our players every edge possible to take a step towards achieving the dream of qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics,” said national coach Mkhonza afterwards.

“The national squad will have to keep working hard at training in Potchefstroom next week as there seems to be a queue for places in the final team. It’s a good sign that Banyana Banyana is generating depth by way of player talent.”