Banyana fired up for Nigeria

OUR TURN: Banyana coach Augustine Makalakalane. 13/07/00. © Sowetan.
OUR TURN: Banyana coach Augustine Makalakalane. 13/07/00. © Sowetan.

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Meeting Nigeria in the final of the All Africa Games (AAG) has motivated Banyana Banyana to win a gold medal in the quadrennial spectacular in Algiers, Algeria, on Sunday.

The South Africans, coached by August Makalakalane, need nothing but a convincing win against the Super Falcons to avenge a 0-1 defeat they suffered against the west African country in the final of the AAG in Abuja, Nigeria, in 2003.

Interestingly, it has been Makalakalane's wish to meet the Nigerians in this year's event. It remains to be seen if his charges will have the gumption to break the jinx against their hoodoo team.

But their display against Nigeria in their 2-all drawn AAG opener last week suggests that Banyana Banyana can beat the Super Falcons in the final.

"We have never beaten Nigeria in all competitions, but I think it is our turn to beat them this time round," said Makalakalane yesterday.

Makalakalane is keeping his fingers crossed for the speedy recovery of winger Belinda Nkosi who was injured after she scored one of the three goals against Ethiopia in the group stages last Sunday.

Midfielder Anthonia Carelse is out injured and central defender Janine van Wyk has since been sent back home because of an injury she sustained in the opening match.

Banyana's chances could also improve should Veronica Phewa continue with her rich vein of form up front more so when ably complemented by twin striker Portia Modise.