Banyana off to winning start
Mamello Makhabane (Gallo Images)
Daveyton - Midfield sensation Mamello Makhabane held her nerve to slot home a penalty to allow Banyana Banyana to record a deserving 2-1 win over Tanzania in a Group A encounter on the opening day of the CAF African Women Championship, played at the Sinaba stadium on Sunday.
Makhabane, who plays her club football for Sasol League national champions Palace Super Falcons in Gauteng, slotted the ball home inches wide of Tanzanian goalkeeper Fatuma Omary in the 84th minute, after the 'Green Machine, as Banyana are known, were awarded a penalty following a Tanzanian hand-ball infringement inside the penalty area.
Striker Mamphashe Popela scored the first goal of the CAF African Women Championship 2010 - and her ninth in a Banyana Banyana jersey - when she controlled a cross from the left from midfielder Makhabane, to fire home in a crowded penalty area in the 34th minute.
But the visitors levelled the score three minutes from the break, when Shurua Mwananahamis led a classy counter attack to provide a pin-point accurate pass to let Fatuma Bashiri run through to the edge of the Banyana Banyana penalty area before firing home past SA goalkeeper Thoko Mndaweni.
Banyana Banyana coach Augustine Makalakalane introduced second half substitutes Jermaine Seoposenwe and Amanda Dlamini with Capetonian Seoposenwe, who plays for Santos in the Western Cape Sasol League, proving more than a handful on the left-hand side of midfield.
The Tanzanian task was made even harder when they were reduced to 10 players after the inspirational Mwananahamis was sent from the field with five minutes on play remaining - having taken a dive in the Banyana Banyana penalty area in the hope of earning a penalty. This saw her collecting her second yellow card of the match and earning an early shower.
"The wind was a challenge for our team in the second half," said Banyana Banyana coach Augustine Makalakalane afterwards.
"The Tanzanians played a completely different style to how they played when Banyana Banyana beat them 6-0 in a friendly international in Tembisa in July. Back then, they played an open style game, while today they played sometimes with 6 players behind the ball so it was difficult for us to penetrate."
Banyana Banyana will return to the training pitch to prepare for their next Group A outing - against Nigeria - at the same venue on November 4 (11:00).