Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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South Africa: Banyana Set World Cup Tone With Costa Rica Win

Banyana Banyana handed themselves a perfect boost ahead of the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup following a 2-0 international friendly match win over Costa Rica at Nga Puna Wai Sports Hub on Saturday.

Thembi Kgatlana opened the scoring for South Africa in the 32nd minute before Hildah Magaia’s 55th free-kick doubled their advantage.

It was the result Desiree Ellis and her ladies needed to boost their confidence going into their World Cup opener against Sweden on 23 July.

Before Saturday’s match, Ellis and captain Refiloe Jane had stressed they were taking the Costa Rica match as a dress rehearsal for the clash against the Swedes.

It came out well for South Africa with an encouraging win in Christchurch.

Ellis gave a hint of the starting XI to expect against Sweden when she fielded a full-strength side.

However, she did not pick goalkeeper Andile Dlamini and centre-back Noko Mtlou as the regular starters to sit on the bench.

Banyana controlled proceedings from the start but missed a glut of chances.

Kgatlana had her effort go just wide on 27 minutes but she made amends shortly after finishing a feed from Kholosa Biyana.

Then 10 minutes into the second half, Magaia’s well-struck freekick from outside the box thrust Banyana further ahead.

Costa Rica had little chance of a comeback as they rarely troubled South Africa who remained firmly in control of the contest until the end.

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