After the opening 10 minutes was played almost entirely in Angola’s half, it was clear that Banyana was headed for a dominant performance.
CAPE TOWN – Banyana Banyana’s quest for a seventh Cosafa Women’s Championship title started on a triumphant note after their 2-0 win over Angola in Nelson Mandela Bay on Tuesday afternoon.
Six-time winners Banyana enjoyed a massive 70% possession advantage but in the end had to settle for a meagre return of two goals, when six or seven would have been a more realistic yield in this Group A encounter.
After the opening 10 minutes was played almost entirely in Angola’s half, it was clear that Banyana was headed for a dominant performance. During this passage of play, Banyana enjoyed a close-in free-kick in a central position and a corner but failed to exploit their good fortunes.
Over the next 10 minutes, Angola’s defence remained under the whip, but they enjoyed one let off after another as Banyana’s parting shots were mostly wide of the mark.
Despite their inability to score, there were some pleasing signs from Banyana’s untried youthful combination. They were impressive as they mounted attacks on the back of a crisp inter-passing game. However, in front of goal, they lacked composure and nervously rushed their scoring efforts.
Angola, to their credit, showed great fight in defence and often did not allow opponents much time on the ball in the striking zone.
After 11 scoring attempts, Banyana finally came good in the 39th minute when Angola failed to deal with a goalmouth cross from the left and debutant Lonathemba Mhlongo slipped the ball wide of Angola’s goalkeeper Domingas Kananga.
In the remaining first-half play, Banyana spurned at least three more scoring chances.
When second-half play resumed, Banyana again grabbed the initiative and created a raft of scoring chances which were rifled fractionally wide of the uprights.
On the hour mark, substitute Karabo Dhlamini grabbed Banyana’s second goal after the ball ricocheted off the upright and spun clear of Angola’s defenders (2-0).
Two minutes later, a fine header by Banyana central defender Bongeka Gamede from a corner struck the crossbar.
Late in the match, Angola managed three sorties deep into opposition territory, but they did not threaten to break down Banyana’s resolute defence.
Earlier, in the tournament curtain-raiser, Eswatini (Swaziland) staged a rousing four-goal fightback against Comoros to clinch a 4-2 win after trailing 0-2.
All Eswatini’s goals were all scored in the second half by Phindafuthi Dlamini, Tenanile Ngcamphalala, Mogale Nonjabuliso and Phumzile Dlamini.
Comoros scored a goal in each through Abdourahmani Hairyat and Anllaouia Hadhirami.