JOHANNESBURG – The primary target of the recent Cyprus Women’s Cup (CWC) was to prepare Banyana Banyana for their maiden Fifa Women’s World Cup but captain Janine van Wyk is adamant that it was inexcusable for them to endure the poor results that they did.
The South Africans failed to bag a win in their four outings, labouring to a draw against Finland in the opening group stage match.
Van Wyk’s criticism of performance is on point, especially if they are going to cut the mustard against some of the best teams on the globe.
At the global showpiece in France in June, Van Wyk and company are in Group B alongside China, Germany and Spain. And that’s why it would have done them a world of good if they had beaten the Finns, Czechs and North Korea.
“We are fairly disappointed with the results that we’ve been getting,” Van Wyk said.
“I think we could have done better, but taking into considering that the coach tried a lot of combinations of players, it’s is understandable but it’s also no excuse for us to get results like we got, it’s very disappointing.
“But we know that we have a lot of work to do after this tournament.”
Banyana’s performance in the CWC was below par, both in attack and defensively.
In the tournament, they conceded 11 goals in four matches, while only scoring four times.
Their biggest failing was their slow starts, they struggled to get going and were soon on the back foot and forced to chase the game.
At the World Cup they won’t be given that luxury as they have to hit top gear from the outset.
Banyana Banyana's most capped player, with 164 matches under her belt, however, remains adamant that it’s too soon to press the panic button.
“I don’t think people should start getting worried. I think there were many times where we had really good combinations going forward and good spells in our game but it just came down to our finishing,” Van Wyk said.
“But there were also times where we played in pouring rain and the conditions were just not suitable for our style of play.
“We had times where we dominated all the four opponents that we played.”
The Banyana players will now take a break from international duty as they turn their focus to club football.
A number of integral players will be on the move as Thembi Kgatlana and Linda Motlhalo will be off to China to meet new employers Beijing BG Phoenix FC, while Leandra Smeda will jet to Sweden to join her new teammates at Vittsjo GIK.
Meanwhile, the futures of Rhoda Mulaudzi and Refiloe Jane, who had their contracts with Australian side Canberra United come to an end, are still up in the air.
Nonetheless, Banyana will be hoping to churn out their best when they meet Jamaica and No 1 ranked United States in the last preparations before heading to the global showpiece.
“There are a lot of positives that we can take from this as we now look forward to our next game.
We look forward to playing the Jamaicans, who are a World Cup team that also recently defeated Chile at home,” Van Wyk concluded.@Mihlalibaleka