Mlauzi master­plan shuts out Banyana

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Grace Chin­goma in YAOUNDE, Cameroon

MIGHTY War­riors coach Shadreck Mlauzi pro­duced a coach­ing mas­ter­class which al­lowed his team to grab a price­less point in a goal­less draw against Banyana Banyana in their open­ing match of the African Women Cup of Na­tions here on Satur­day night.

Mlauzi chose not to go punch for punch against the South Africans and sur­prised his op­po­nents with his ap­proach, built on the foun­da­tion of a de­fen­sive tac­ti­cal dis­ci­pline, which was full value for the point which they gained at the end.

Hav­ing been out­classed by the same op­po­nents, in a 0-3 home de­feat in a friendly in­ter­na­tional just days be­fore their show­down here, Mlauzi and his troops found a way to tame the at­tack­ing prow­ess of Banyana Banyana and se­cure the vi­tal point.

There had been fears that the Mighty War­riors would be over­run by their fit­ter and stronger op­po­nents but Mlauzi and his team found a way to punch above their weight and will have a spring in their step ahead of to­mor­row’s match against Egypt at the Stade Ahmed Ahidjo.

South Africa are ranked fourth on the con­ti­nent and Zim­babwe are in 13th place. “At the end of the day it’s a good point,” said Mlauzi. “You can­not ex­pect to drop points eas­ily and ex­pect to progress to the semi-fi­nals. Our ob­jec­tive re­mains to win foot­ball matches.

“We did not have the best of prepa­ra­tions com­ing to this tour­na­ment. Still, at the same time, I felt we man­aged to ef­fect our game plan.”

The coach con­ceded his charges fiz­zled out in the sec­ond pe­riod as Banyana Banyana launched an on­slaught on their goal but, to their credit, they fought long and hard for the point.

“The phys­i­cal qual­ity dropped, our in­ten­sity dropped. We al­lowed South Africa to play to their strength,” said Mlauzi.

“We knew that tech­ni­cally and tac­ti­cally they are a good side. They have been to the Olympics (twice) and Fifa Un­der-17 World Cup.”

Mighty War­riors for­wards Ru­tendo “Madz­i­mai” Makore and Kuda Ba­sopo could have got a goal in the first half.

South Africa, who re­pelled the early on­slaught, later missed a cou­ple of chances in the sec­ond pe­riod with Thembi Kgat­lana and Jer­maine Seo­posenwe get­ting good op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Banyana Banyana coach, De­siree El­lis, clearly dis­ap­pointed, said af­ter the match she had no re­grets.

“I don’t have any re­grets, very dis­ap­pointed, yes. You can­not miss op­por­tu­ni­ties like that and ex­pect to win matches which makes the Cameroon game even more dif­fi­cult.

“I am not say­ing it’s a good point but I will not say no to a point,” said El­lis.

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