Banyana Banyana shook off their rustiness with a commendable 2-2 draw against the highly-rated New Zealand Women’s National team in a friendly match played at the Larnaca Sports Ground in Cyprus last night ahead of the start of the annual Cyprus Women’s Cup.
The Sasol-sponsored team, who last played a competitive match against Botswana in December 2012, fought back from an early goal down against the towering Black Caps ladies to equalise through winger Mary Ntsweng with the impressive Jermaine Seoposenwe netting the second goal on a rebound after the New Zealand goalkeeper had saved Janine van Wyk’s fierce shot to give Banyana a deserved lead.
With Banyana heading for a famous win, New Zealand grabbed an equaliser towards the end of the match through an own goal, off the hip of Banyana Banyana defender Nothando Vilakazi to make the final score 2-2.
Banyana Banyana coach Joseph Mkhonza said of the outing: “We looked shaken and very rusty early on which was understandable as we haven’t played competitively in nearly three months but I was glad to see the girls gain confidence and play to instructions as the match progressed and then go on to hold this good New Zealand side.”
“Having arrived in Cyprus last Tuesday, we’ve quickly managed to familiarise ourselves with the usually chilly conditions we face in the mornings and evenings while the tactical training we have implemented on the girls seems to be progressing nicely thus far. We are grateful to Safa and Sasol for providing us with the opportunity of performing at this level again this year,” Mkhonza added.
Banyana Banyana will only regenerate today (Sunday) and then have a day off before getting back onto the training pitch on Monday and Tuesday for final preparations ahead of the opening match of the tournament against South Korea on Wednesday, 2:30pm.
Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland make the other two teams in Group C alongside the Sasol-sponsored side.
Cyprus Women’s Cup 2013 Fixtures: Warm-Up, Saturday 2 March: South Africa 2-2 New Zealand (Alpha Sports Centre, Larnaca) Wednesday 6 March: 14.30: New Zealand vs Scotland (GSP, Nicosia) 17.30: England vs Italy (GSP, Nicosia) 14.30: Canada vs Switzerland (GSZ, Larnaca) 17.30: Netherlands vs Finland (GSZ, Larnaca) 14.30: South Africa vs South Korea (Tasos Marko Stadium, Paralimni) 17.30: Northern Ireland vs Republic of Ireland (TBC) Friday 8 March: 14.30: Italy vs New Zealand (GSZ, Larnaca) 17.30: Scotland vs England (GSZ, Larnaca) 14.30: Switzerland vs Netherlands (GSP, Nicosia) 17.30: Finland vs Canada (GSP, Nicosia) 14.30: Republic of Ireland vs South Africa (Tasos Marko Stadium, Paralimni) 17.30: South Korea vs Northern Ireland (Tasos Marko Stadium, Paralimni) 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 Cyprus Women’s Cup Tournament: Group A – Larnaca: England Italy New Zealand Scotland Group B – Larnaca: Canada Finland Netherlands Switzerland Group C – Aija Napa: Northern Ireland Republic of Ireland South Africa South Korea 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)