Banyana Banyana veteran Noko Matlou says she expected to score in one of the international friendlies against Zambia and Botswana this past week.
Matlou netted a brace as the South African national senior women’s team came from a goal down to defeat the Copper Queens 3-1 at the Wits stadium last weekend. In the other game Banyana were 2-0 victors of Botswana.
Matlou who is a striker come defender last scored for the national team in 2018 at the Cyprus Cup, and she told Lethabo Kganyago the confidence to score came from training.
“Considering that Zambia is a good team, scoring two goals against them was something special. But I knew that I was going to score because I was scoring in training and I even told my teammates that I’m going to score on Saturday and I did that. I like to score goals and to celebrate it felt good to that again,” Matlou told iDiski Times.
The brace took Matlou’s tally to 66 goals in 156 appearances in green and gold.
The 35 year old also reflected on the matches, saying South Africa expected tough encounters considering that the last time Banyana were in action was last year’s Cosafa Cup in Gqeberha.
During that time coach Desiree Ellis could not even call-up overseas based players, including Matlou, due to travelling restrictions in different countries owing to the spread of the Corona virus.
The Moletji-born Matlou says Banyana had to win the friendlies as they have a tough year ahead.
“We knew the friendly against Zambia was going to be difficult because the last time Banyana Banyana played was at Cosafa last year and some of us the last time we played it was in 2019 in Japan. We had to win those two friendlies to gain momentum because we have a tough schedule ahead of us,” added Matlou.
The former African Woman footballer of the year further says Banyana expected a tough Zambia due to their Tokyo Olympics qualification, and the strong league in their country, but highlighted Shepolopo’s weak defence.
As far as Botswana is concerned Matlou says they are one of the most improved teams in Cosafa in recent times, citing how they cut short Banyana’s Olympics qualifying campaign and their appearance at the Cosafa Cup finals last year.
“Botswana have improved a lot especially if you remember they went to the finals at the Cosafa cCp. They have a young squad with a lot of experience, so when they play South Africa they always want to prove a point, they want to defeat South Africa. Knowing that they have beaten South Africa once and they took us out of our qualifying for Tokyo they know that every time we play them it will always be tough,” said the SD Eibar defender.
The former First Touch Academy captain is pleased to see young players in the Banyana squad, not only add international mileage in the feet, but also see them gain confidence in their game too.