Linda Motlhalo © Backpagepix
The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana went down 2-0 to their French counterparts in an international friendly match played on Sunday at Stade de l’Est Jean Ivoula in Saint-Denis, Reunion Islands.
This was the second defeat for the visitors following the one back in 2009 where they lost 3-2 in their first ever clash.
As expected, the clash started at a fast pace with the home team wanting to stamp their authority on proceedings – and it was not long before they took the lead in the eighth minute through a Griedge Mbock Bathy goal.
The goal seemed to unsettle the visitors as they lost shape and could not play the kind of football that won them the hearts of many at last year’s Caf Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
As this was the first match of the year for both teams, South Africa seemed to struggle more for the better part of the game and allowed the hosts to dictate terms from the onset.
France managed to bridge the Banyana defence and the goalkeeper, but defender Nothando Vilakazi stopped the ball off the line, and hoofed it away for a corner.
The South Africans got a rare chance going forward. A beautiful move started by Linda Motlhalo in the middle of the park, as she took on defenders, then passed the ball to Amanda Dlamini who pushed onto the path of Andisiwe Mgcoyi to tap in for goal, which she did – but unfortunately she was ruled offside.
Sensing danger, the French increased the tempo and continued with their attacks – resulting in a goal in the 35th minute by Bathy, her second of the night as she doubled the lead.
Banyana interim head coach Desiree Ellis introduced fresh legs in the second half to try and change the fortunes of her team.
She gave Bontle Mashilo her debut when she came on for Lebohang Ramalepe. Shiwe Nogwanya took the place of Amanda Dlamini, Rhoda Mulaudzi replaced Mgcoyi while Noko Matlou entered the fray in place of Janine van Wyk.
But the home team was resolute and gave nothing away.
The South Africans put up a better performance in the second half despite France still calling the shots – but there were no more goals in the match.
France are ranked third in the world and second in Uefa compared to South Africa’s 51st and fifth ranking respectively.
France: Meline Gerard (GK), Jessica Houara D’Hommeaux, Griedge Mbock Bathy, Wendie Renard (C), Sakina Karchaoui, Sandie Toletti, Camille Abily, Elise Bussaglia, Kadidiatou Diani, Amel Majri, Eugenie Le Sommer
Subs: Saraha Bouhaddi (GK), Laetitia Phillipe (GK), Laura Georges, Eve Perisset, Annaig Butel, Aissatou Tounkara, Onema Grace Geyoro, Claire Lavogez, Gaetane Thiney, Camille Catala, Marie Laure Delie
Coach: Olivier Echouafni
South Africa: Andile Dlamini, Nothando Vilakazi, Janine van Wyk (C) (Noko Matlou), Lebohang Ramalepe (Bontle Mashilo), Linda Motlhalo, Amanda Dlamini (Shiwe Nogwanya), Jermaine Seoposenwe, Bambanani Mbane, Andisiwe Mgcoyi (Rhoda Mulaudzi), Refiloe Jane, Leandra Smeda
Subs: Yolula Tsawe (GK), Monnye Theledi (GK), Lebogang Mabatle, Noko Matlou, Gabriela Salgado, Silindile Ngubane, Thembi Kgatlana, Rhoda Mulaudzi, Zinhle Chabaku, Shiwe Nogwanya, Bontle Mashilo
Coach: Desiree Ellis