Banyana coach won't blame 'keeper

2016-08-04 20:16
Roxanne Barker (Gallo)

Rio de Janeiro - Banyana Banyana are off to a losing start in their Rio 2016 campaign, and it could not have come in crueler fashion. 

Looking like they belonged at the highest level against the No 4 ranked side in the world for most of the match, Banyana then gifted the victory to Sweden through a horrible error from goalkeeper Roxanne Barker, who spilled a routine cross in the 74th minute. 

The defeat has left Banyana facing an early exit from the competition, with tough group fixtures against hosts Brazil and China remaining. 

Barker has been one of Banyana's standout performers in the build-up to Rio, and she further enhanced her reputation with a move to Dutch club SC Heerenveen Vrouwen at the end of June.

And while she will be gutted with her howler on Wednesday, Barker can take some comfort in the knowledge that she has the backing of her coach Vera Pauw.

"We had the right strategy but we just did not concentrate for that one moment," Pauw said after the match.

"I am not going to blame Roxanne because she has done so well for us. All players make a mistake but when a goalkeeper does, it usually costs you a goal."

Banyana captain Janine van Wyk felt her side deserved more from the match. 

"I do not think Sweden deserved their goal at all. We played so well. We are just not scoring goals in that last third," she said.

"This has given us a lot of confidence having put on such a great performance.

"We created chances and it shows nothing can stand in our way. If we carry on playing like that we can get to the next round."

Lloyd Burnard is Sport24's correspondent in Rio de Janeiro for the duration of the 2016 Olympics ...

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