Mary Ntsweng is determined to put up a great show and help Banyana Banyana bid farewell to Cyprus on a winning note, when they face Northern Ireland in their final Cyprus Cup Group C match on Monday, 11 March 2013.
The enterprising winger has been one of the shining stars in the South African women’s side during this annual tournament, dishing out splendid displays despite the team’s failure to register a win in the tournament.
“It’s been a very competitive tournament. Our undoing has been that we start well but lose focus when it matters most; and our opponents have seized the opportunity and punished us for that,” said Ntsweng, who plies her trade for the TUT Ladies FC team in the Sasol Woman’s League.
Having a fulltime role in the tournament this time around after having a bit-part role in the 2012 edition, Ntsweng has orchestrated most of the attacking moves for Banyana Banyana, only for her striking teammates’ to spurn the chances created.
She scored a cracking goal in the 2-2 draw against New Zealand in the practice match ahead of the start of the tournament and watched in disbelief as her shot cannoned off the crossbar against the Republic of Ireland last Friday.
Ntsweng remains confident that the goals will come. “I have heard the coaches commend me for my performances in Cyprus so far and I am glad I have followed their instructions.
“I am glad everything has panned out well, and my aim is always to go out onto the park and be ready to die for the team. As a collective, we have done well in creating chances. What we need only is to improve our communication and be fully alert when in the final third,” she said.
Banyana Banyana and Northern Ireland come into the final Group C match at the Paralimni stadium (14h30 on Monday, 11th March) winless after two outings.
The Sasol-sponsored side lost their opening game 2-0 to South Korea and were narrowly defeated 1-0 by Republic of Ireland on Friday after missing a host of chances. Northern Ireland were thumped 5-1 by Ireland and 3-0 by Korea in their two games.
Banyana Banyana beat Northern Ireland 2-0 in the group stages of the Cyprus Cup last year and while Ntsweng has seen an improvement in their opponents, she firmly believes Banyana Banyana can beat them again.
“The standard is higher in the tournament this year, teams have regrouped after last year’s outing and strengthened their weak departments,” assessed the 24-year old dreadlocked winger.
The team had a day off on Saturday and spent the afternoon in the beautiful city of Larnaca, about 55kms outside their base of Ayia Napa, sight-seeing nearby the Mediterranean Sea. In the evening, the South African girls participated in a fun Player’s Evening – a karaoke singing and dancing event – which featured the three teams from Group C, South Korea, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, put together by the tournament organisers.
After completion of the group matches on Monday, the 2012 African Women Championship runners up will compete in a 11th/12th playoff spot in the 12-nation tournament, as they have not qualified for a playoff in higher positions. Banyana Banyana finished in 10th place last year.
South Korea and the Republic of Ireland will face each other to determine the winner of Group of C in the second match at the Paralimni stadium.
Cyprus Women’s Cup 2013 Results: Warm-Up, Saturday 2 March: South Africa 2-2 New Zealand Wednesday 6 March: New Zealand 1-0 Scotland Canada 2-0 Switzerland South Africa 0-2 South Korea England 4-2 Italy Netherlands 1-1 Finland Republic of Ireland 5-1 Northern Ireland Friday 8 March: Italy 0-2 New Zealand Republic of Ireland 1-0 South Africa Switzerland 1-1 Netherlands Scotland 4-4 England Finland 1-2 Canada South Korea 3-0 Northern Ireland Group A Log (Team, Played, Points): New Zealand – 2 – 6 England – 2 – 4 Scotland – 2 – 1 Italy – 2 – 0 Group B: Canada – 2 – 6 Netherlands – 2 – 2 Finland – 2 – 1 Switzerland – 2 – 1 Group C: Republic of Ireland – 2 – 6 South Korea – 2 – 6 South Africa – 2 – 0 Northern Ireland – 2 – 0 Upcoming Fixtures: Monday 11 March: 14.30: England vs New Zealand (GSP, Nicosia) 14.30: Italy vs Scotland (GSZ, Larnaca) 17.30: Netherlands vs Canada (GSP, Nicosia) 17.30: Finland vs Switzerland (GSZ, Larnaca) 14.30: South Africas vs Northern Ireland (Tasos Marko Stadium, Paralimni) 17.30: South Korea vs Republic of Ireland (Tasos Marko Stadium, Paralimni) Wednesday 13 March: Finals Day: TBC The Banyana Banyana Squad for the Cyprus Cup: 1. Andile Dlamini (Sundowns Ladies FC) 2. Lebogang Mabatle (Halleluyah Zebra Force) 3. Nothando Vilakazi (Palace Super Falcons FC) 4. Jermaine Seoposenwe (UWC Ladies FC) 5. Janine van Wyk (Palace Super Falcons FC) 6. Zamandosi Cele (Durban Ladies FC) 7. Nomathemba Ntsibande (Springs Home Sweepers) 8. Silindile Ngubane (Durban Ladies) 9. Amanda Dlamini (UJ Ladies FC) 10. Mary Ntsweng (TUT Ladies FC) 11. Noko Matlou (UJ Ladies FC) 12. Robyn Moodaly (Alexandra Ladies FC) 13. Gabisile Hlumbane (Kovsies Ladies FC) 14. Refiloe Jane (Sundowns Ladies FC) 15. Kaylin Swart (UWC Ladies FC) 16. Andisiwe Mgcoyi (Sundowns Ladies FC) 17. Nocawe Skiti (Cape Town Roses FC) 18. Zanele Chiya (TUT Ladies FC) 19. Mahlatsi Mogola (TUT Ladies FC) 20. Vuyo Mkhabela (UWC Ladies FC) 21. Gloria Thato (Tuks Ladies FC) 22. Shiwe Nongwanya (Bloemfontein Celtics)