Banyana’s fate in their own hands

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The night before, they had left the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo dejected, not only because of the defeat to Cameroon but also due to the manner of that loss, after goalkeeper Andile Dlamini was bundled off the ball as the hosts scored the winning goal.

Banyana’s mood changed when they realised that their passage to the last four is mainly in their hands because Egypt beat Zimbabwe. That means they need to beat Egypt and hope that Cameroon, who no doubt want to end with a 100 percent record, don't lose to Zimbabwe.

The technical team spent the better part of their light training session doing team building exercises to keep that good mood going. One of those included blindfolding an attacker and a goalkeeper. Each had to rely on the instructions of their teammates to beat or stop the other. It produced a lot of comical relief.

That has put the side in a better state of mind leading into their clash with Egypt this afternoon at 5pm.

“We have been in this situation before,” Banyana veteran Nompumelelo Nyandeni said.

“We lost and drew our first two matches in the last AWC, just like we did in this one. We went to the last game needing to win by a big margin to reach the semi-finals.

“We had the belief that we could do it. We have the same belief because our group is wide open. Only Cameroon have qualified for the semi-finals.

“We need to beat Egypt by a huge margin, so that we are okay should goal difference be a factor.”

Banyana spent the better part of this week sharing a hotel with Egypt in this city. They didn’t interact with them that much, only bumping into each other in the lift and the lobby.

In spite of the fact that many of the players they saw were those they beat 3-1 in Dobsonville last month, the Egyptians have improved dramatically.

One of their journalists accused them of being here to donate points after they were outclassed by the hosts. They responded in emphatic fashion by beating Zimbabwe. Banyana need to respond to the criticism of their misfiring ways upfront in a similar fashion to book a place in the last four rather than a flight back home.

The Star

Original source: Banyana’s fate in their own hands

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