/ 8 December 2007

Banyana keep hopes up for Beijing

Banyana Banyana soccer coach Augustine Makalakalane believes his side will turn the tables on Ghana by beating them in their own backyard and increase their chances of making it to the Beijing Olympics next year.

Banyana face Black Queens on Sunday at Accra Stadium. Kick-off is 6pm (South African time).

This encounter is crucial for Banyana, who lost the first leg at home 1-0. Should they win Sunday, they will be back in contention for the Olympics berth.

”This is a crucial game for us and the team prepared hard for a victory. Ghana managed to beat us at home, so what should stop us from doing the same? We should have beaten Ghana in our previous encounter, but the ball would not hit the back of the net,” said Makalakalane, an attacking midfielder in his playing days.

The good news for Banyana is the return of stalwart defender Janine van Wyk who missed the first leg, and veteran striker Portia Modise, who ply her trade for Fortuna Hjorring in Denmark.

Apart from these two, Makalakalane brought three national Under-20 players who performed well against world champions Germany recently. They are defender Merry Ntsweng, midfielder Nothando Vilakazi and goalkeeper Mandy de Arouja. — Sapa