So now we don’t have to worry about Banyana Banyana qualifying for things as well bafethu?
Nay man, I actually can’t believe it!
Just the other day, Desiree Ellis and the senior women’s national team were the great hope and football darlings of South Africa because they deliver on expectations.
Banyana had just defended their Cosafa Women’s Championship title, proving their dominance over the Southern African region. And then Botswana happened.
The same Botswana that only came fourth at the recent 2019 Cosafa Championship hosted in Nelson Mandela Bay.
But that Botswana was the one that won the penalty shootout of their Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifier, after they were tied at 0-0 over two legs.
The first leg was away in Botswana and Banyana walked away without conceding.
The expectation was that they would do the business at home in the return leg, but that wasn’t to be. Even after extra time!
We were served heartbreak instead as only Leandra Smeda and Bambanani Mbane converted their spot kicks, while captain Refiloe Jane and Mamello Makhabane’s penalties were saved and Lebohang Ramalepe shot wide of the goal.
Usually, pundits would go on about selections made by the coach when things turn out this way for any other SA sports national team.
For example, what was Noko Matlou doing on the bench for such an important match?
Would the coach have made the same decision if say Janine van Wyk was available?
Would Van Wyk have been benched like Matlou?
Matlou, by the way, was the most experienced player selected and the first SA woman ever to win Caf Women’s Player of the Year award.
She is also one of the team’s best penalty takers.
Meanwhile, Smeda, one of the side’s most senior and creative attackers was selected as a leftback for the decisive second match.
This was her first start since before the Women’s World Cup earlier this year in France, replacing Nothando Vilakazi, who was on the bench.
Smeda had been one of the most talked-about players having contributed to getting SA to the World Cup, but somehow fell down the pecking order when it was time to go to battle in the tournament in France.
I mean who doesn’t know about Smeda’s talents right?
She only became the first SA woman to play Champions League football, but somehow doesn’t command a starting berth in her more natural midfield position for a crucial Banyana clash?
But then again, coach Des Ellis has her own ideas of how she wants the team to take shape for the future.
And maybe Matlou and Smeda are part of the romance of the past.
Coach Des thought that the fresh young guns could do job done by Matlou and Smeda and the like?
I don’t want to lie, it leaves a sour taste to know that our SA women’s national team has failed so badly against a team they could beat with their eyes closed on any given day.
Are we going to act like this hasn’t happened and heads won’t roll as a result Are we going to make excuses and allow this to just slip under the carpet?
South Africa will not take part at the football tournament in Tokyo Olympics guys.
It would’ve been the third in a row after the side qualified for London 2012 and Rio 2016.
It’s a disaster if there was ever one in South African women’s football.