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Banyana strikers must be more clinical

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Banyana’s biggest problem on both occasions was the team’s performance in the final third after they managed to break down the opposition’s resistance in midfield.

Nthabiseng Ronisha Majiya of South Africa celebrates her goal during the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations match against Botswana at Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium, Rabat
Nthabiseng Ronisha Majiya of South Africa celebrates her goal during the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations match against Botswana at Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium, Rabat on 10 July 2022. Picture: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

Cape Town – Banyana Banyana produced yet another sluggish performance to finish their Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) Group C assignments in Morocco on Sunday night.

They ran out slender 1-0 winners against Botswana in a southern African derby, and for the first time in Wafcon history, the South Africans completed the group stage without defeat.

It was an extraordinary feat since their victims included 11-time winners Nigeria.

Ahead of Sunday’s match, Banyana ran out 3-1 winners against Burundi in a match they dominated from start to finish, but the final scoreline bears no resemblance to that statistic.

ALSO READ: WAFCON quarter-finals:Tunisian test awaits Banyana

On Sunday night it was much the same; and it was only in the 80th minute that substitute, 18-year-old Nthabiseng Majiya, scored the lone goal in the match.

By this time, Banyana had enjoyed 69% possession and were leading the shots at goal count 26-3.

However, only six of the 26 shots were on target.

Several Banyana players unleashed shots in the firing zone and while they were well struck, they lacked finesse. As a result, Botswana goalkeeper Sedilame Boseja lived a charmed life between the sticks for most of the evening.

ALSO READ: Five things we learnt from Banyana’s win over Botswana

Banyana’s biggest problem on both occasions was the team’s performance in the final third after they managed to break down the opposition’s resistance in midfield.

Banyana flooded the striking zone, but the players were inclined to pass when they needed to pull the trigger.

In the opening match against Nigeria, Banyana’s play struck up fluency early without capitalising in the first half. Around the hour mark, Banyana’s two-goal blitz knocked the stuffing out of the Super Falcons.

In their eagerness to give as many players game time, the teams showed several changes since the opening game and that may have caused a disruptive effect as untried combinations battled to find strike up an understanding.

Now that the group stage is complete, the form book suggests that Nigeria and Banyana could meet again in the final if the two teams survive the quarter-final and semi-final rounds. Banyana will play Tunisia who was one of two teams who reached the quarter-finals for two best-placed third-place finishes.

Tunisia played in Group B which was topped by unbeaten Zambia (seven points) and Cameroon (5). Tunisia ended up with three points after a victory over winless Togo. Tunisia won 4-1 but did not dominate in the match, instead, they used their chances well. Ironically, Togo had more shots on goal.

Now that the technical team saw the hit-outs for two different combinations, the logic will be to choose a form XI for the quarter-final duties on Thursday.

@Herman_Gibbs

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