The Mares Worsen Banyana Frustrations Ahead of World Cup

Give them a 5-0 thwacking


Botswana’s senior women’s national team, The Mares, defied the odds by giving World Cup-bound South Africa’s Banyana Banyana a 5-0 drubbing in a controversial friendly played in South Africa on Sunday.
This comes after Banyana Banyana’s first team boycotted the match at the 11th hour in protest over conditions at Tsakane Stadium in Brakpan just east of Johannesburg that they considered too risky for hosting a World Cup preparatory game, compelling authorities to hurriedly put together a makeshift team to honour the fixture with Botswana.

The real McCoy on the stands
As if cocking a snook at South African Football Association (SAFA), the real McCoy Banyana joined spectators on the stands in the second half where SAFA president Danny Jordan was in attendance.
According to reports, the players had insisted on a stadium of greater significance, preferably one of the venues that hosted matches during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Perhaps more significantly, they queried their contractual agreements and demanded R500 000 per player for playing in the World Cup in an issue that is yet to be resolved.

Two braces plus one
Nevertheless, the fixture was honoured and Botswana started on a high note when Mares forward Lesego Radiakanyo opened with a goal that motivated the locals to own the match. Ontlametse Gaonyadiwe then scored a first half brace before Mamelodi Sundowns’ Refilwe “Seven” Tholakele netted another brace to seal a 5-0 victory.
In a post-match interview with Gazette Sports, The Mares coach Galethoo Nkutlwisang said they were happy with the win despite the chaotic scenes prior to the match.
“We came here for a friendly match against Banyana Banyana in our quest to give them a test of character before they depart for the World Cup and we did that even though the first team boycotted the match,” she said.

Olympic qualifiers
“We played their makeshift team and won. I am very happy with how my girls played and there is a huge progress within the team.”
For her part, Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis said she was disappointed with the turn of events that led to the heavy defeat prior to the World Cup. “Things didn’t go our way,” she said. “Unfortunately, my first team refused to play and I had to make a plan.
“People must remember that this is the same Botswana that knocked us out of the Olympic qualifiers recently and we never underestimated them. We are going back to the drawing board and I hope SAFA will be able to resolve this matter as soon as possible.”