Pauw impressed with Banyana progress

Sasol Banyana Banyana’s preparations for the 2014 African Women’s Championships (AWC) got-off to a positive start with an impressive 4-0 victory over neighbours Botswana in an internatinal friendly match on Saturday, 07 June at a packed Isak Steyl Stadium at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) in Vanderbijil Park.

The 9th edition of the African Women’s Championships will be held in Namibia from 11 – 25 October.

The match was arranged after the Union of Comoros withdrew from the second leg of the qualifiers following their 13-0 loss to South Africa two weeks ago in the first leg.

Sasol Banyana Banyana coach Vera Pauw was impressed with the team’s performance, adding that things will get better as more matches are played.

“The ladies played very well, they were comfortable in passing each other the ball and it shows that they are getting better and adapting to playing together. I also believe we can do better than we did, so there’s still a lot of room for improvement. We are not where we want to be yet,” said Pauw.

The South African Senior Women’s National Team scored three goals in the first stanza of the match, and managed one in the second half.

“We just need to work on making sure that we are accurate in the final third. Yes, Botswana played a defensive game, but we also missed a couple of good chances. It shows that we are improving in our attack. But we need to play against opponents who play an attacking game as well so that we can be able to test our defence,” added Pauw.

Striker Leandra Smeda registered two goals in the match – six in two games. The 25-year-old, who plies her trade with the University of the Western Cape in the Sasol League, scored four goals in the 13-0 win against the Union of Comoros.

“I am pleased with the results, we continued from where we left off against Comoros, and this shows that we are growing as a team. I’m also happy that I am finding the back of the net again. I believe I have improved a lot in my game and I had a feeling before the start of the match that I was going to score. But I have to continue working hard so the goals keep on coming, I should not relax now,” said Smeda, who was named Diski Queen of the Match.

The other two goals came from Portia Modise and Ode Fulutudilu.

Banyana Banyana are in the process of arranging a tour of West Africa later this month to give the players more practice ahead of the AWC. Details will be announced soon.