Banyana need a draw against Mali

2010-11-06 11:39

A Banyana Banyana victory or a draw against Mali in a CAF African women’s championship Group A soccer fixture at the Sinaba Stadium in Daveyton tomorrow (3.30pm kickoff) should see the home team advance to the semifinals of the event.

With the 22?000-capacity Sinaba Stadium expected to be filled by predominantly gold-clad Banyana Banyana supporters, they will not be short of motivation and encouragement as far as keeping their World Cup dream alive is concerned.

The teams to contest the final on November 14 will automatically qualify to represent Africa at the Fifa women’s World Cup in Germany in June next year, and the spirit is high in the Banyana Banyana camp despite losing 2-1 against top-ranked Nigeria on Wednesday.

The South Africans know if they approach the Mali encounter with the same commitment, discipline, passion and skill showed against the Nigerians, they will be among the final four teams in the tournament.

Following Mali’s 5-0 thrashing by Nigeria and 3-2 win over Tanzania on Thursday, the west African country has a goal difference deficit of four, while the local team has beaten Tanzania 2-1 and lost 1-2 against Nigeria, giving them a zero goal difference, an all-important advantage, should Sunday’s match be a draw.

Banyana Banyana’s CAF African Player of the Year, striker Noko Matlou scored both goals when the South Africans played to a 2-2 draw against the Malians in a friendly international in Tembisa last month, and the Mali defence is expected to be well tested again.

Not much can be read into the match played in October since there are many new faces in the Mali squad, and Banyana Banyana coach Augustine Makalakalane played his cards close to his chest in Tembisa by not playing his strongest combination.

South Africa go into the match ranked third in Africa and 57th in the world, while Mali are the 12th best side on the continent and 83rd on the Fifa world rankings.

With a semifinal place up for grabs, however, statistics will be last on the minds of players and coaches.

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