South Africa will compete for the bronze medal in the women’s football tournament at the World Student Games in Kazan, Russia, after going down 4-1 against Mexico in a tough semifinal clash on Saturday.
The plucky SA squad got to the play-offs after strong performances against superior teams, including a 3-2 win over their group log-leaders Chinese Taipei, and a 3-3 draw against Japan to qualify for the knock-out stages.
After their 4-1 loss to Mexico, the South African team faces Brazil on Monday in the Bronze-medal match.
In Saturday’s cup elimination match, Sandra Mayor scored in the sixth minute to give Mexico the early lead, but Leandra Smeda hit back almost immediately to equalise for the SA women.
And while they never gave up the fight, the South Africans were ultimately outclassed, with Veronica Corral netting a brace and Monica Monsivais putting the result beyond doubt.
“We started the game very well,” said SA coach Jerry Laka. “We took the game to our opponents again by playing our passing game, and keeping possession of the ball.
“We created a number of opportunities in the first 10 minutes but were unable to convert.
“Unfortunately we gave the game away in the first five minutes, which possibly killed us as a team, but I am proud of my girls. They never gave up.”
The SA women will face either Brazil in the bronze medal playoff on Monday.
“We need to give our best,” Laka said. “We’re going all out and hopefully we will be on the podium.”
SA Fixtures and Results at the World Student Games from 6 to 17 July 2013, in Kazan, Russia: 5 Jul: Russia 1-0 South Africa 7 Jul: Korea 2-2 South Africa 9 Jul: Chinese Taipei 2-3 South Africa 11 Jul: Japan 3-3 South Africa 13 Jul: South Africa 1-4 Mexico 15 Jul (16:00) Brazil vs South Africa (Women’s Finals Bronze Medal Match) The SA Squad for the World Student Games: Zamandosi Elizabeth Cele Amanda Dlamini Refiloe Jane Letago Madiba Valerie Shadi Matenche Keneilwe Digrecious Mathibela Noko Alice Matlou Vuyo Unitred Mkhabela Sanah Mollo Charlotte Mshengu Rhoda Mulaudzi Marry Nnana Ntsweng Nonhlanhla Phalama Rachel Sebati Jermaine Seoposenwe Leandra Smeda Kaylin Christen Swart Nkosingiphile Eslinah Zungu
(University Sport SA, with editing by gsport)