Banyana Banyana lost 5-1 to the Netherlands in an international friendly at the Kyocera Stadium on Tuesday night.
This is a match coach Desiree Ellis was using as part of the 2022 African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) in Morocco later this year. Ellis made a few changes to the squad that qualified for the African showpiece against Algeria last month with Noko Matlou starting in her 161st game and Thalea Smidt getting her first start in senior national colours.
South Africa were tested early on with Andile Dlamini forced to make a save in the eighth minute from a Vivian Meidema shot. A minute later Thembi Kgatlana shot at the opposing net but it wasn’t strong enough. Three minutes later Jackie Groenen opened the scoring for the home side with beauty from outside the box.
Lebogang Ramalepe tried to restore parity in the 16th minute but kicked into the keeper’s hands. In the 25th minute, Kgatlana with a wonderful solo run scored the equaliser but that was not long-lived as Lineth Beerensteyn restored the Dutch’s lead in the 30th minute. Meidema registered her name on the score sheet eight minutes later making it 3-1 for the hosts a scoreline they took into the break.
South Africa brought in Kaylin Swart for Dlamini in the second half and they had a chance to reduce the deficit when Kgatlana was fouled in the box. The visitors were rewarded with a penalty. Matlou stepped up and her kick was saved in the 51st minute.
The Atletico Madrid striker Kgatlana remained a pain for the Dutch defence with her speed in the 60th minute she took a powerful shot however it was saved and it was the hosts who found the net again through Lyon star Damaris Egurrola in the 76th minute after some lax defending from Banyana and Swarts goalkeeper error helped her secure a brace in stoppage-time with the last kick of the game.
Despite the stride Ellis has made with her squad, the gulf in class was clear as the Oranje, who are ranked 52 places higher than South Africa displayed why they are amongst the elite in women’s football.
Report by @ngwanamogoto