Sport / Phakaaathi / Local Soccer

Tshepo Ntsoelengoe
Football Writer
3 minute read
26 Oct 2021
9:33 am

Banyana ready for second meeting with Mozambique in AWCON qualifiers

Tshepo Ntsoelengoe

Banyana set to host Mozambique in AWCON qualifier this afternoon.

Desiree Ellis, coach of South Africa during the Banyana training (Pic Sydney Mahlangu/BackapagePix)

Banyana Banyana are expected to sail past Mozambique when the teams clash in the second leg of the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifiers at FNB Stadium on this (Tuesday) afternoon.

The South Africans thrashed Mozambique 7-0 in the first game played in Maputo last week. And now, with players like Thembi Kgatlana and Hilda Magaia set to be given a run, a score-line with a bigger margin is anticipated.

Both Kgatlana and Magaia were left on the bench in the first leg after the players had long flights and only arrived in camp a day before the match. But, despite the two goal poachers not playing, some top performance by Gabriela Salgado and Linda Motlhalo saw both players grabbing a brace each, while captain Janine van Wyk, Noxolo Cesane and Melinda Kgadiete also put their names on the scoresheet with a goal each.

Mozambique look dead and buried from the first meeting looking at the score-line, where coach Desiree Ellis even handed former Basetsana player Asanda Hadebe her debut.

Despite their huge advantage over Mozambique, one of the scorers from the previous game Cesane, says Banyana won’t take anything for granted and the team has prepared thoroughly for the tie.

“It is a new game, so we have to forget about what happened in the past. We are going out there to win the match, not to take them lightly and think to ourselves that we are already through to the next round. We have to be professional about it and the good thing is that the preparations for the game have been going very well,” said the midfielder.

“I am happy that I scored in the first match and I would like to score again if I get a chance to play. But all in all, everyone is looking forward to the match.”

Meanwhile, It is not like Banyana Banyana haven’t played at a Fifa World Cup Stadium before, but the mere fact that they will be hosting Mozambique at the FNB Stadium today excites Ellis’ charges.

The stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg, hosted the historical first Fifa World Cup final in Africa and the Soweto derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates is mostly played there.

And now, Banyana, who are carrying a 7-0 aggregate lead against the Mozambicans from the first leg played in Maputo, are relishing the opportunity to play at the famous Soweto stadium.

“We have played at World Cup stadiums before, when we were preparing for the World Cup, we played at Cape Town Stadium, we played Moses Mabhida Stadium (Durban) and now we are playing at FNB Stadium. The home of football in the country, but we have also played PSG’s stadium during the World Cup (2019 in France). I think they are really excited, I don’t think it’s going to overwhelm them too much, it’s just the excitement of playing at FNB and having to step on that field and play. I think that really excites them,” said the Banyana coach.

“I think that’s one thing that will really motivate them to go out there and put on a good showing.  But everyone is looking forward to it. We had a good run in the stadium on Monday and it’s in top condition, so there’ll be no excuses tomorrow with the passing game and we just have to stay focused.

Having scored seven goals away from home, one would expect the hosts to score even more since they will be playing at home, but Ellis thinks otherwise.

“Look you can never say how many goals you are going to score, but the way we played in Mozambique our goals were well orchestrated. It was not just about playing a long ball and running into it. It was one-twos, movement off the ball and player running into position etcetera.”