Banyana secure greatest result
South Africa have produced their greatest ever result in international women’s football after a 0-0 draw with world champions Japan.
Banyana Banyana exited the 2012 London Olympics Women’s Tournament on a high with a draw against the current best team in the world that gives them their first point in a FIFA finals competition.
Having lost their opening two matches to Sweden (1-4) and Canada (0-3), the South Africans had no chance of reaching the knockout stages, but showed some pride in holding the Japanese.
The result should give coach Joseph Mkhonza and his squad a massive boost in confidence ahead of the 2012 African Women’s Championship to be played in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon in November.
The result means Japan had to settle for second place in the pool behind Sweden, who were held to a 2-2 draw by Canada. The latter also qualify as one of the best third-place finishers.
Chances were few and far between in the match, but South Africa had their opportunities, particularly in the first half.
Portia Modise fired wide on two occasions, while skipper Amanda Dlamini also saw her effort drift wide.
Japan had given opportunities to their fringe players in the game and failed to really get out of first gear, though to be fair they were never allowed to by the obdurate South Africans.
Mkhonza and his team can take plenty of heart from the game and it has certainly given them something to build on, and perhaps a new-found respect for South African women’s football.