Banyana need to dictate tempo in return Olympic qualifier against Tanzania

Jermaine Seoposenwe of South Africa passes the ball during the first half of the international friendly match against the United States at TQL Stadium on September 21, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio

File. Striker Jermaine Seoposenwe has given a breakdown of what Banyana Banyana must do to kill off their Olympic qualifier against Tanzania. Picture: Jason Mowry/Getty Images/AFP

Published Feb 26, 2024


Striker Jermaine Seoposenwe has given a breakdown of what Banyana Banyana must do to kill off their Olympic qualifier against Tanzania on Tuesday night.

Banyana were dominant in the first leg of their third-round Olympic qualifier against Tanzania on Friday afternoon in Dar es Salaam, winning 3-0.

That result put them in a firm position to progress to the final and last round of the qualifiers where they’ll face Nigeria or Cameroon, but the South Africans are not leaving anything to chance going into the second leg at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.

“We need to try and control the game from the start,” Seoposenwe said. “We have the quality, even though it shows up in patches sometimes.

‘Dictate play’

“We need to control the match, dictate the play and tempo as well. Work on the things that we’ve done wrong by looking at the film.

“We need to see where our weaknesses are. There were a couple of times where we built up well from the back (so we need to build on that).”

Despite Banyana’s performance in the first leg – with the front three of Seoposenwe, Thembi Kgatlana and Hildah Magaia getting all the goals - Seoposenwe doesn’t believe they were at their best. She singled out defender Lebogang Ramalepe as her best player on the day.

“We played in patches,” she explained, “but that’s the result of us not being together for a very long time.

“I know we can do better but I am proud of the team. We kept a clean sheet.

“Players really stepped up. Rama had an amazing game, for me. She was the player of the match.”

Banyana have enjoyed an impressive run of form in recent years, winning the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations and qualifying for back-to-back Fifa World Cups.

However, they missed out on the last Olympics in Tokyo four years ago following their loss to Botswana in the qualifiers. They want to make up for lost time by reaching the final at this year’s Games in Paris between July and August.

In-form players

Coach Desiree Ellis will feel that they can overcome any hurdle because her front three are firing on all cylinders.

Seoposenwe, Kgatlana and Magaia are all based in Mexico, where they play for CF Monterrey Femenil, Tigres UANL Femenil and Mazatlán Femenil. Seoposenwe believes that their recent club form augurs well for Banyana.

“(The) players were clinical in front of goals, which is what I think the coach expects. I think myself, Hildah and Thembi had great seasons for our teams,” she said.

“So, I think we are bringing our experiences to the national team, and I think that’s amazing. We just got back in the groove, and we know each other very well.”