Rain spoils Banyana Banyana game
Having secured their maiden Fifa World Cup berth via finishing as runners-up in the Africa Women's Cup of Nations in Ghana late last year, a lot was expected from Banyana Banyana heading into the Cyprus Cup.
But SA have since found the going rather difficult in this 12-nation competition. Losing their last pool match 2-1 to Czech Republic condemned Banyana to play the ninth-place play-off against old foes Nigeria today (11am SA time).
Banyana went into this tournament high in confidence, aiming to prepare for the World Cup, from June 7-July 7 in France this year.
After giving up their lead to lose against Czech Republic in their third and last round-robin match, defender Bambanani Mbane thinks the downpour in the island nation played a major role their defeat.
"We are very disappointed because we started the game very well in the first half. The second half was a mess... a bit difficult for us. Obviously we are not used to play in such weather, the rain really messed it up for us,'' said Mbane.
Coach Desiree Ellis echoed the sentiments of her centre-back, feeling the match officials should have abandoned the match as the pitch was waterlogged from heavy showers.
"I am extremely disappointed. We were in complete control in the first half, scored a very good goal [netted by Mamello Makhabane] . had another one or two chances that we could have done better with,'' said Ellis.
She says other players would be given a chance to play against Nigeria today.
"We've not done well so far, [and] we really want to go home with a win."