30 July 2019 – It was exactly five years when Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana met Comoros for the first time in any competition, and they demolished them 13 – 0 at Stade Said Mohamed Cheik away in Comoros.

On the day, Portia Modise and Leandra Smeda scored four goals each, Sanah Mollo chipped in with two, while Mamello Makhabane, Nomathemba Ntsibande and Shiwe Nogwanya grabbed one each under then head coach Vera Pauw.

The clash was a first leg qualifier of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, and it is now history that Comoros did not honour the second leg in South Africa.

A lot has happened since then – Banyana Banyana has been to the Olympics (Rio 2016), every Women’s AFCON on offer, qualified for the World Cup and also won the COSAFA Women’s Championships.

Of the 18 players selected for that match, only five remain in the squad – Janine van Wyk, Mamello Makhabane, Refiloe Jane, Andile Dlamini and Ode Fulutudilu, while Nothando Vilakazi and Leandra Smeda miss out because of club commitments.

Banyana Banyana take on Comoros in their opening match of the 2019 COSAFA Women’s Championship taking place in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.

The clash will be played on Wednesday, 31 July.

Kickoff is at 15h30.

But Jane has warned her teammates about living in the past, saying they have to go there with a lot of respect for the opposition and forget about what happened five years ago.

“We cannot take them for granted just because we beat them many years ago – a lot has happened over the years and so many teams have improved, and that alone should be a sign to us that we have to be extra-careful in tackling Comoros,” said Jane.

“Also, this is our opening match of the tournament, a very important one because it sets the tone going forward. We are most certainly the team to beat for there reasons – we have been to the World Cup, we are the hosts and also we are the defending champions – which means any teams facing us will up their game and make it difficult for us. So it is important that we go there with our A game, and not underestimate them. We intend defending our titlle and it all starts with Comoros.”

Comoros will be making their debut in the tournament, and come into the regional showpiece with a hope of showing progress.

They are in Group A alongside South Africa, Madagascar and Malawi.

Comoros did not enter the preliminaries for the 2019 World Cup, and have also not entered the qualifiers for the African Women’s Championship.

PREVIOUS COSAFA WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS

2002 – South Africa 2-1 Zimbabwe

2006 – South Africa 3-1 Namibia

2008 – South Africa 3-1 Angola

2011 – Zimbabwe 1-0 South Africa

2017 – South Africa 2-1 Zimbabwe

2018 – South Africa 2-1 Cameroon

The 2019 COSAFA Women’s Championship is a practice run for five sides in the tournametn as they will be taking part in the qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games – scheduled to be played a few weeks after the COSAFA CUP.

Hosts South Africa, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana will all be using the championship to fine-tune their tactics ahead of the qualifiers.

So there is much to play for in Nelson Mandela Bay, with the senior event to run from July 31-August 11.

Banyana Banyana face Botswana in their Olympic qualifier, while Zimbabwe and Zambia clash as well.

Malawi will meet East African side Kenya.

Just one team from Africa is guaranteed a place at the Olympics this year, with the team that loses in the qualification final to take on a team from South American region in a play-off fixture for the right to go to Japan.

Sasol Banyana Banyana vs Comoros in 2014:

Thokozile Mndaweni, Nothando Vilakazi, Jamine Van Wyk, Nomathemba Ntsibande, Simphiwe Dludlu, Amanda Dlamini, Mamello Makhabane, Portia Modise, Sanah Mollo, Refiloe Jane, Leandra Smeda.

Subs: Andile Dlamini, Letago Madiba, Amanda Sister, Ode Fulutudilu, Silindile Ngubane, Shiwe Nogwanya, Nelisiwe Mchunu.

 

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