Banyana looking for ‘legs’
South Africa (1) 3 Smeda 28, Esau 67, Kgatlana 73 Lesotho 0
TODAY, when Banyana Banyana takes on Namibia in their second match of Group C at Barbourfields Stadium (Kick-off 4.30pm), Desiree Ellis can only hope that tired legs won’t show from her side when they take on a team which won their first match of the group by a 4-0 scoreline against Botswana three days ago.
Namibia will go in as potential favourites, after having received a day off , while Ellis’ charges weren’t allowed such a privilege.
This match will be Banyana’ second in a row with no off-day in between, after sauntering past their opponents yesterday here in Luveve Stadium in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
In the first period of this match, Banyana played with so much confidence on the ball moving from the back straight into the opposition’s defensive third.
They weaved their passes beautifully, forcing their opponents to chase shadows, each time they were on the ball.
Banyana captain, Refiloe Jane, was the mastermind behind seeing her side tick from central midfield going into the final third. She was the anchor in the heart of midfield while the likes of Leandra Smeda, Rachael Sebati and right-back Lebohang Ramalepe, pressed forward in an attempt to unlock the opposition’s defense.
However, each time Banyana did that, they were failed by their striker Chantelle Esau, who blasted off every chance she was presented. The striker missed three golden scoring opportunities which could have seen the national side up by 4-0 going into to the half time break.
Smeda netted to see Banyana go into the halftime break with a 1-0 lead, after launching a powerful shot which beat Thuto Maifo , who was way off her line to make a save.
In the second period of the match, Esau came back onto the pitch a player inspired to make up for her previous mistakes. Her work rate in the second stanza saw her netting Banyana’ second of the day, following a sweet cross from Rhoda Mulaudzi on the far side who spotted her unmarked inside the 18 yard area. Esau didn’t fluff this chance, making sure her shot was on target.
Just 17 minutes before fulltime, Esau became the creator for Banyana’s third goal, and played a beautiful lob pass into the 18-yard area, after spotting Thembi Kgatlana who had about three players on her tail.
Kgatlana, however, easily evaded them with her impeccable dribbling skills, and directed the ball home with a beauty of a finish to make it 3-0.