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Banyana 'anxious' about winless year

Banyana ex-striker and now defender Noko Matlou is with the squad in France.
Banyana ex-striker and now defender Noko Matlou is with the squad in France.

The reality that Banyana Banyana haven't won a match this year, leading up to their first ever World Cup, has somehow triggered anxiety, according to versatile campaigner Noko Matlou.

"Yes, it's a bit worrying that we have not won a match this year. We are trying to address it by looking at our past games to see where we are getting it wrong," Matlou said.

Banyana, who are in camp in France for the World Cup, are winless in eight games they've played in 2019.

Desiree Ellis's troops opened the year with a 2-1 home defeat to the Netherlands in a friendly on January 19.

This was followed by a goalless draw against Sweden in another friendly on home soil three days later. Banyana lost three of the four Cyprus Cup games in March, with a draw.

In the Cyprus Cup, SA lost to Czech Republic (2-1), Finland (3-0) and Korea DPR (4-0) in group stages, and also drew 2-2 with Finland. It was in the ninth-place play-offs where this European side hammered them.

In their last match, a friendly in California on May 12, Banyana lost 3-0 to world champions US. A month prior to that, SA had been held to 1-1 draw in another friendly by fellow World Cup debutants Jamaica in Durban.

"All of the games we have played this year we have learnt. We hope that we will show all that [they've learnt in friendlies] during the course of the World Cup because we were playing those games to prepare for the World Cup," noted the 33-year-old Matlou.

In what will be their last preparatory match before the world showpiece, Ellis's charges clash against Norway at Stade Moulonguet in Amiens, France, on Saturday.

Banyana begin their World Cup campaign against Spain on June 8, before facing China in their second Group B encounter five days later. They wrap up the group phase against Germany on June 17.

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