SA closer to 2012 Olympics

2011-08-27 20:05

The South African senior women’s ­soccer team are one step closer to the 2012 London ­Olympic Games, thanks to a hat trick from striker Noko ­Matlou.

Banyana Banyana played some silky football during the opening minutes of the game, cutting down the wings and showing ­incredible skill.

The result and performance should not come as a surprise to any South African football supporters or anyone who has watched this team recently.

Banyana have transformed themselves this season thanks to the dominance of Russia-based midfielder Mpumi Nyandeni, Nomathemba ­Ntsibande, Kylie Louw and Siphiwe Masina.

They continually defend well but also push forward deep on the counter.

Ethiopia came back strongly in the second half and seemed not deterred by Banyana’s first half two-goal lead.

The visitors’ defence looked better organised and they even started attacking from time to time.
 
They had some better ­moments shortly before the second goal, but it was obvious that they were up against better opponents.

Matlou’s first goals came in the 6th and 13th minutes.

As the game progressed South Africa went in search of more goals in the remainder of the game and added a third goal through Matlou who wrapped up her hat trick in the 94th minute.

She played as a lone striker for the better part of the game but the return of defenders Nyandeni and Louw did ­wonders for the national team.

Banyana travel to Ethiopia for a second leg encounter next month.

While they take a comfortable lead, the girls should brace themselves for a tough encounter after Ethiopia’s gusty ­performance in the final stanza of yesterday’s game.

The winner of this two-legged affair will book a place to ­London in 2012, joining the winner of the Nigeria/Cameroon as African representatives.

So far, Banyana have seen off challenges from Zambia (5-1) and Tunisia (6-5 on penalties after 1-1 aggregate draw) in the Olympic qualifiers, which began back in January this year.

Another factor that should make Banyana wary of Ethiopia at home is their impressive run so far.

It has seen them overcome Congo DR 3-0 on aggregate and Ghana on the away goals rule after a 2-2 stalemate at the end of the two legs.

Ethiopia are ranked 106th in the Fifa official world rankings while South Africa are placed 63rd. The result takes Banyana to 12 wins from 14 matches this year under coach Joseph Mkhonza.


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