Banyana end Cyprus Cup campaign on low note

Banyana Banyana have ended their Cyprus Cup campaign with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Finland on Wednesday.

The result means that the South Africans are placed 10thin the 12-team competition, with a draw and three defeats in their four games played.

The game started in celebration with veteran defender Noko Matlou handed the captain’s armband on the occasion of her 150th cap, a massive milestone for the former African Women’s Footballer of the Year.

But a Banyana side featuring six changes were well beaten on the day, having played to a 2-2 draw with Finland earlier in the tournament.
Finland were ahead just past the half-hour mark as they caught Banyana out with an aerial ball and Katarina Naumanen headed them in front.

A mistake from goalkeeper Kaylin Swart saw her gift possession to Finland midfielder Iina Salmi, and she slotted the ball into the empty net from long-range to make it 2-0.

Swart was beaten again from range for the Finland third, though this time there was nothing she could do about it as Olga Ahtinen crashed the ball into the back of the net.

Coach Des Ellis has made changes throughout the tournament to give her players an opportunity to prove their worth ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France in June-July.

She will have learnt a lot about which players are ready to make the step up for South Africa’s first ever appearance at the global showpiece competition.