3 March 2013

South Africa: Banyana Banyana Hold New Zealand Ahead of Cyprus Women's Cup Opener

Banyana Banyana shook off their rustiness with a commendable 2-2 draw against the highly-rated New Zealand Women's National team in a friendly match played at the Larnaca Sports Ground in Cyprus last night ahead of the start of the annual Cyprus Women's Cup.

The Sasol-sponsored team, who last played a competitive match against Botswana in December 2012, fought back from an early goal down against the towering Black Caps ladies to equalise through winger Mary Ntsweng with the impressive Jermaine Seoposenwe netting the second goal on a rebound after the New Zealand goalkeeper had saved Janine van Wyk's fierce shot to give Banyana a deserved lead.

With Banyana heading for a famous win, New Zealand grabbed an equaliser towards the end of the match through an own goal, off the hip of Banyana Banyana defender Nothando Vilakazi to make the final score 2-2.

Banyana Banyana coach Joseph Mkhonza said of the outing: "We looked shaken and very rusty early on which was understandable as we haven't played competitively in nearly three months but I was glad to see the girls gain confidence and play to instructions as the match progressed and then go on to hold this good New Zealand side."

"Having arrived in Cyprus last Tuesday, we've quickly managed to familiarise ourselves with the usually chilly conditions we face in the mornings and evenings while the tactical training we have implemented on the girls seems to be progressing nicely thus far. We are grateful to Safa and Sasol for providing us with the opportunity of performing at this level again this year," Mkhonza added.

Banyana Banyana will only regenerate today (Sunday) and then have a day off before getting back onto the training pitch on Monday and Tuesday for final preparations ahead of the opening match of the tournament against South Korea on Wednesday, 2:30pm.

Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland make the other two teams in Group C alongside the Sasol-sponsored side.

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