Zimbabwe first real test for Banyana in Cosafa, says Makhabane

Mamello Makhabane of South Africa during the COSAFA Women's Championship match between South Africa and Madagascar at Wolfson Stadium on August 05, 2019 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Mamello Makhabane of South Africa during the COSAFA Women's Championship match between South Africa and Madagascar at Wolfson Stadium on August 05, 2019 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Image: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images

Banyana Banyana midfielder Mamello Makhabane says playing Zimbabwe in the semi-finals will be the team’s first real test at Cosafa Women’s Championships.

Banyana cruised through the group stages and topped group A with nine points from three matches. They now meet group C winners Zimbabwe in the semi-finals at Wolfson Stadium on Thursday (3.30pm).

The player, who celebrated her 100th cap for the national team on Monday, said the Mighty Warriors were going to be a tough side.

“We are really going to be tested on Thursday, honestly,” said Makhabane.

“I watched their game against Eswatini. Zimbabwe is not an easy team to beat. The game will need our full concentration and determination and we must really show now that we have just come from the World Cup and do our best because there wont be another chance.

“We are really going to be tested on Thursday, honestly,”
Banyana Banyana player Mamello Makhabane 

“These are the semi- finals. We have to win. Their style of play is similar to ours and I think they will want to prove a point. So, that on its own should be a motivation for us as well.

“We must just take that as a positive thing, just go there and represent our country and make sure that we win that game.”

The 31-year-old said there is a lot of pressure on their shoulders to win the title as the defending champions, however, they are professionals and are accustomed to such.”

Coach Desiree Ellis made six changes to the squad that participated at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.Ellis has had to do without the likes of Thembi Kgatlana‚ Linda Motlhalo and Nothando Vilakazi in Nelson Mandela Bay‚But she did add three new caps in midfielder Priscilla Pesa, striker Shange Sthembile and defender Noxolo Cesane, while midfielders Hilda Magaia, Ongeziwe Ndlangisa and Robyn Moodaly have been recalled.

Makhabane said although they would have loved to have their usual players in the team, the new caps have stepped up. “We have been doing well. I mean this is a national team and nobody has their own spot here.

“Even on Monday we had two new players coming in and they did very well. So it shows that women’s football in our country is growing.

“We are on the right track in defending the title. We have the team spirit and everyone is getting along with one another.

“We are the only ones who will stop ourselves from taking this cup. But right now we are on the track and that will be tested on Thursday.”

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