5 March 2018 – Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana held a gutsy Korea DPR to a goalless draw in the third and final group stages clash in the Cyprus Women’s Cup.
The Koreans are ranked 11th in the world, compared to South Africa’s 54th position on the FIFA Women’s World rankings. The Asians were a late replacement in the tournament, taking the place of Trinidad and Tobago who withdrew shortly before the start of the competition.
South Africa head coach Desiree Ellis made four changes to the starting line-up, bringing on goalkeeper Kaylin Swart for Roxanne Barker, Regina Mogolola for Lebohang Ramalepe, Leandra Smeda for Nothando Vilakazi and Linda Motlhalo for Sduduzo Dlamini.
It was always going to be a tough match, as both sides had not lost a game in two fixtures they had already played.
With both playing a similar style of attacking football and ball retention, it became an evenly contested, very open and exciting game of football.
It was Korea who had the first shot at goal, and their ferocious shot found Kaylin Swart alert in the South African goals. Banyana Banyana did have a chance through Linda Motlhalo in the 23rd minute but the keeper saved her shot. It was more of the same in the second stanza with both sides creating chances but nothing to write home about.
The best chance of the game belonged to second half substitute Jermaine Seoposenwe whose header sailed over the cross bar, with the goalkeeper in wonderland. In the 74th minute, South Africa were saved the blushes by the cross bar with Swart well beaten and her defence cleared the rebound.
Ellis made several changes to the team to bring in fresh legs – Nompumelelo Nyandeni replacing Rachel Sebati, Noko Matlou going in for Melinda Kgadiete and Seoposenwe on for Kgaelebane Mohlakoana, whilst Chantelle Esau took the place of Refiloe Jane.
Nyandeni and Matlou were playing in their first match of the tournament – with the latter being used as a striker, a role she excelled in before she was converted to a defender.
But there was no change to the score line and it ended 0-0. The only player yet to play is defender Zanele Nhlapho.
This was a good showing by Banyana Banyana as they have now gone three matches unbeaten in the tournament – something they were not able to achieve in their last five appearances.
This is also the first time they have not conceded any goals. The match was clearly a great advert for women’s football as both teams were a marvel to watch.
The result means Banyana Banyana complete the group stages with five points, two behind log leaders Korea.
The South Africans are still in line to get their highest finish in the tournament when they will be contesting for position five or six on Wednesday, 7 March against a soon to be confirmed opponent in the last match of the competition.
In their inaugural appearance of the Cyprus Cup in 2009, they came sixth – at the time there were only eight teams in the tournament.
Banyana Banyana return home on Friday, 9 March.
Banyana Banyana results in GROUP C:
South Africa 0 – 0 Slovakia
South Africa 1 – 0 Hungary
Korea DPR 0 – 0 South Africa
Here’s how they lined up against Korea DPR:
Kaylin Swart (GK), Regina Mogolola, Leandra Smeda, Bambanani Mbane, Janine van Wyk (c), Refiloe Jane (Chantelle Esau), Rachel Sebati (Nompumelelo Nyandeni), Kgaelebane Mohlakoana (Jermaine Seoposenwe), Melinda Kgadiete (Noko Matlou), Linda Motlhalo, Thembi Kgatlana
Andile Dlamini (GK), Roxanne Barker (GK), Nothando Vilakazi, Noko Matlou, Zanele Nhlapho, Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Sduduzo Dlamini, Jermaine Seoposenwe, Lebohang Ramalepe, Chantelle Esau
Coach: Desiree Ellis
Kim Myongsun (GK), Ri Unyong, Wi Jongsim, Ju Hyosim, Yu Jong Im, Sung Hyangsim, Kim Yunmi (C), Kim Phyonghwa, Ri Hyangsim, Kim Unha, Son Okju
Paek Yong Hui (GK), Kim Namhui, Ri Kyonghyang, Ri Hae Yon, Kim Un Hwa, Kim Jong Sim