Banyana Banyana’s 1-0 victory courtesy of a strike by Leandra Smeda at Setsoto National Stadium on Wednesday in the first leg was far from convincing due to complacency, casualty and a number of missed chances.
As a result, today’s match will require the South Africans to grind hard for the result if they are to get the better of a Lesotho team that has had plenty of time to prepare for the finals of the qualifiers.
Prior on the road to the AWCON that will be held in Ghana, coach Desiree Ellis introduced new faces such as Karabo Dlamini, Khanya Xesi and Hilda Magaia to the squad. This follows the exclusion of overseas-based trio Thembi Kgatlana, Janine van Wyk and Linda Motlhalo, who are on club duty with Houston Dash in the United States.
For Kgatlana and Motlhalo, another substantial reason for them not featuring for the qualifiers was because they are still finding their feet at Dash. Meanwhile, captain van Wyk has been an integral figure for them since her arrival early last year.
However, the local-based squad led by Refiloe Jane have previously proved that they can do the job for the national team as they claimed the 2017 Cosafa Cup tournament that was held in Zimbabwe.
Currently, the team’s biggest obstacle has been the lack of a killer instinct in-front of goal and that has resulted to intense defending for the better part of the game.
Banyana Banyana’s poor scoring rate has also seen veteran Noko Matlou leaving the defence department and joining the striking force, where she hopes to increase the number of scoring chances, as was seen during the period of players such as Portia Modise.
With Banyana Banyana’s ultimate dream to play in 2019 World Cup; qualifying for the AWCON would be the first step, while they’ll have to ensure a top-three finish in Africa’s major football tournament.@Mihlalibaleka