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Sports & Off The Pitch
Mar 7 2013 5:21PM
 
Banyana coach confident they will rise from defeat
Captain Amanda Dlamini and coach Joseph Mkhonza during the South Africa National Womens soccer team arrival press conference at O.R Tambo International Airport. Picture: Gallo Images
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Banyana Banyana coach Joseph Mkhonza remains confident of finishing in a good position in the Cyprus Cup despite watching his side lose 2-0 to South Korea in the opening match of the tournament on Wednesday.

"We started brightly in the opening 10 minutes but soon after we gave away a soft goal from a defensive mistake and miscommunication between our goalkeeper and right fullback," Mkhonza said on Thursday.

"What is pleasing is that the girls fought back bravely and we regrouped, but it was too late."

The South Koreans scored two goals in each half to move into second place in Group C. Ireland, who top the table on goal difference, hammered Northern Ireland 5-1 in the other group match played on Wednesday night.

Mkhonza, who led Banyana to the 2012 London Olympics and to a runners-up finish at the 2012 African Woman's Championship (AWC), may have been disappointed at the end of the match but lifted the team's spirits, saying they could still turn things around in the tournament.

"Our objectives to be in Cyprus can't change overnight because of our opening day defeat," Mkhonza said.

"We will continue to look into giving other players a chance --especially in midfield and upfront -- to gain experience and to see how they handle themselves at international level, ahead of the AWC qualifiers later this year."

Banyana next face Ireland on Friday and Mkhonza was confident of their chances after analysing the opposition's match against Northern Ireland.

"We learned the hard way from our defeat but for our next match we will look at pushing up from midfield and supplying our forwards quickly.

"I believe they are beatable if we knock the ball around and into space on the wings where they are not very strong."

-Sapa

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