Leandra Smeda (centre) leads the celebrations after scoring a goal against Lesotho on Thursday. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

BULAWAYO – Banyana Banyana were in top form at the Cosafa Women’s Championship on Thursday, dispatching Lesotho 3-0 at the Luveve Stadium.

In the first period against Lesotho, Banyana played with much confidence on the ball, moving from the back straight into the opposition’s defensive third.

They weaved their passes beautifully together, forcing their opponents to chase shadows each time they were on the ball.

Banyana captain Refiloe Jane was the mastermind behind seeing her side tick from central midfield.

She was the anchor in the heart of midfield while the likes of Leandra Smeda, Rachael Sebati and right back Lebohang Ramalepe, pressed forward in an attempt to unlock the opposition’s defence.

However, each time Banyana did that, they were failed by their striker Chantelle Esau, who wasted every chance she was presented with.

The striker missed three golden scoring opportunities, which could have seen the national side up by 4-0 going into halftime.

Smeda netted the only goal of the first half, which saw Banyana go into the break with a 1-0 lead, after launching a powerful shot which beat Thuto Maifo, who was way off her line to make the required save.

In the second period, Esau came back on to the pitch inspired to make up for her previous mistakes. Her work-rate in the second stanza saw her netting Banyana’s second of the day, following a sweet cross from Rhoda Mulaudzi on the far side who spotted the her unmarked inside the 18-yard area.

Esau didn’t fluff this chance, making sure her shot was on target this time around.

About 17 minutes before the end, Esau became the creator for Banyana’s third goal, and played a beautiful lob pass into the box after spotting Thembi Kgatlana, who had about three players on her tail.

Kgatlana, however, easing evaded them with her impeccable dribbling skills, and directed the ball home with a beauty of a finish to make it 3-0.

Now coach Desiree Ellis can only hope that tired legs won’t show from her players on Friday at the Barbourfields Stadium (4.30pm kickoff) when they take on Namibia, a side who won their first match of Group C by a 4-0 scoreline against Botswana three days ago.

Namibia will go into Friday’s match-up as potential favourites to win it after having received a day’s off to prepare for the match, while Ellis’ charges weren’t allowed such a privilege.

This match will count as Banyana’s second in a row with no day off in between.


IOL Sport