JOHANNESBURG – Banyana Banyana striker Jermaine Seoposenwe acknowledges that they cannot afford to sit back and relax in their final round robin match of the Cosafa Women’s Championship against Malawi, if they are to make the semi-finals and keep their title defence chances alive.
Banyana, who are currently on the summit of group A on six points, will take on third-placed Malawi this afternoon (kick-off 3.30pm) at theWolfson Stadium in PE.
“We cannot afford to relax at all," Seoposenwe said. “If we want to continue with the momentum that we built from the first game (against Madagascar), being relaxed is not going to help us at all.
"We need to keep going and get back to how we played in the first 15 minutes (when they were 2-0 up) of how we played in that fixture. We played quicker, got a lot of crosses and through balls in the box - there was just a lot of purpose to those 15 minutes.
"We need to replicate that against Malawi.”
Banyana are one point away from booking themselves a spot in the last four, but a lapse in concentration and a loss this afternoon could result in them being dependent on the goal difference rule that will decide whether they progress as group leaders or runners-up.
Seoposenwe says that in order for them to avoid such impediments they have to ensure that they are in the driving seat from the start.
“If we stick as a team and continue with the way that we’ve been playing, I think we can create chances and score goals," she insisted.
“However, it’s important for us to score early because we can’t afford to miss the chances that we create. Opposing teams are going to count on getting a goal first and park the bus. In this tournament, because we are the champions, teams are going to come out against us with guns blazing.
"And we need to be ready for that; match the firepower that they are bringing and get early goals so that we can relax more."
The 24-year-old has been Banyana’s pillar of strength so far. She provided both assists in the 2-1 win against Madagascar, while it was her late goal that grabbed all spoils against Botswana on Friday. Although she’s a team-player, Seoposenwe admits that she was proud of herself with getting the winner in the last encounter.
“The celebration was filled with so much emotion because I was frustrated the entire game."@Mihlalibaleka