Banyana Banyana must shift up a gear

Banyana Banyana forward Thembi Kgatlana celebrates after scoring the team's first World Cup goal. Banyana lost 3-1 to Spain in their opener at the Oceane Stadium in Le Havre, northwestern France.
Banyana Banyana forward Thembi Kgatlana celebrates after scoring the team's first World Cup goal. Banyana lost 3-1 to Spain in their opener at the Oceane Stadium in Le Havre, northwestern France.
Image: Damien MEYER / AFP

The Japanese female national team, Nadeshikos, is one of the big guns in international football. In fact, they were world champions in 2011.

I watched the Nadeshikos struggle to assert themselves against Argentina who, just like our Banyana Banyana, don't have a professional league back home. Most players in the Argentinian side are part-time footballers with full-time jobs while others are studying.

What Argentina did to Japan was to suffocate them and showed them no respect. The match ended 0-0. If Banyana wanted an inspiration, Argentina provided one.

I still believe Banyana gave Spain too much respect and allowed them space to do as they pleased. Our players have skills most teams in France don't have.

For instance,Thembi Kgatlana gave La Roja's defence a torrid time on her way to scoring Banyana's only goal.

Instead of Banyana pressing Spain, they sat back and invited Spain to come at them. As a result they ended up losing by 3-1. Germany and China are other nations in our group.

If we go into match with Germany with same negative approach of sitting back and absorb pressure, I foresee our girls conceding 10 or more goals. German ladies know how to score.

Qualifying for the World Cup is a huge milestone which should be grabbed with both hands.

It's also a platform for our players to showcase their talent on world stage.

As a proud South African, I'll still be there rooting for them.

Richardson Mzaidume, Pimville

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