Banyana dazzle off the field in Cyprus

LARNACA - Residents of a resort at Larnaca in Cyprus were awakened to the spine-tingling sound of Zulu singing on Saturday.

LARNACA - Residents of a resort at Larnaca in Cyprus were awakened to the spine-tingling sound of Zulu singing on Saturday.

Residents were treated to Banyana Banyana, SA's women's national soccer team, showing off their musical talent on the hotel beach before breakfast.

Although it was a team-building exercise, the girls were also practising for an official function on Saturday night, where last year they made their biggest impression during the Cyprus Women's Cup.

Team manager Fran Hilton-Smith said their performance at the function left everyone stunned. "I think we were invited back for that performance alone.

"Everyone was impressed with the New Zealand girls' rendition of the Haka, but then our girls got up and did their thing and it just blew them all away."

Simphiwe "Shorty" Dludlu leads the team's singing and getting the girls into the right spirit. On the team bus she gets them going with her beautiful voice. Her sparkling personality makes up for what she lacks in size.

"Ours is not really a rehearsed thing. It's more impromptu like how we sing on the bus to the games," said the diminutive Dludlu.

Before lunch the team strolled along the Larnaca esplanade and visited the Church of St Lazarus, considered to be the most impressive sight on the island.

After lunch, they were put through their paces at training before returning to the hotel for the official dinner.

After a tough couple of days, especially after Banyana's unexpected 3-1 loss to Switzerland in bad weather on Friday, the girls bounced back at an evening function, where they were once again most impressive in the entertainment stakes.

After a couple of highly entertaining routines, they even went on to steal the limelight from the Cypriot dancers who followed.

Dludlu and Nompumelelo Nyandeni spontaneously joined them with their own version of the traditional dance, much to the delight of the other teams.

Banyana Banyana once again set standards that will be a hard act to follow next year.- Sapa

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