Dorego's Revolving Blog
15 November 2012
This week we hear from Banyana Banyana’s Amanda Dlamini.
In Banyana’s African Women’s Championships final loss to Equatorial Guinea, I think in the first 15 or 20 minutes we approached the game very well. We were dominating in the opening stages, but I think it was very important that we concentrate until the 45th minute because they scored that goal in the 43rd minute, which was very crucial. If we’d contained them and frustrated them so that they didn’t get a goal in the first half, maybe the second half would have been much better. But I guess they caught us when we had a lapse of concentration and capitalised on that. When we left our place where we were camping, we spoke about the hostile crowd and that we should try and maybe convert them to be in our favour. But with a nation like theirs, who are very passionate about their national team, it was very hard to convince them to support us. They were 100% behind their girls and I think it’s something that as South Africans we should learn from. They support women’s football the same way they support men’s football, which is something great. They managed to go all the way because they had the support that they needed. I felt that we probably deserved a much more decent score than 4-0 because, like I said, they capitalised on our lack of concentration. We were all disappointed by the fact that we lost by four goals, but the mere fact that it was in the final makes us very proud of ourselves. We have to learn from our mistakes. It’s very important that when you are in the final of a tournament like this, you concentrate from the first to the last whistle.
Despite the loss to the hosts, we definitely achieved a lot of success in this tournament. We’ve had a busy year. 2012 has been a very busy year for Banyana. We’ve pushed really hard, we were preparing for the Olympic Games and so on. I’m sure the body could be complaining by now that we’ve been in camp throughout the entire year, but I mean, for us to be successful, we need to apply ourselves and sacrifice certain things and the luxury of being at home. The results show that we managed to get to the final and it shows that whatever it is we have been doing throughout the year, going to the Olympics, coming back...when people thought that we were disappointed, we came back, we regrouped and we competed fairly well in the African Women’s Championships.
I think my good performances are due to my drive. I always challenge myself at training. I’m not always that excited with what I know now and I’m always looking to experiment, especially in training sessions. The mere fact that I’m the captain also contributed to my performance. For the team to progress, I just need to lead by example, so that also puts me under pressure to kind of get my game on a certain level and to carry the team, not necessarily just because I’m the captain, but because it’s also good for my profile as an individual and a player that I do well. As the captain, I have the support of my teammates and the coach.
Before that semi-final clash with Nigeria our head of delegation brought us together and we had a psychological activity. We all sat down and we kind of told each other how we feel about the game. We also felt that Nigeria thought they were just doing us a favour by honouring the game, so we had to go out there and prove them wrong. The head of delegation also reminded us of what a national flag means and what it would mean to all South Africans if we were to get over the Nigerian hurdle and go to the final. So all of that...the significance of our South African flag, the privilege of representing your country...those are the things that kind of touched our hearts, that we needed to emerge victorious in that Nigeria game. It really worked well because everyone was on the same page and we were all in the same frame of mind because we wanted to win by all means.
Working together as a team is the major positive we have gained! The team has been together for a very long time, but still the unity is there. We have developed the tendency of working for each other and that was more significant in the Nigeria game. We have star players like Portia Modise, Noko Matlou and Janine van Wyk, but it’s not about individuals. We’ve learnt to accept that we are all stars in the team who work for each other and if we achieve anything, it’s all credit to the team. I think that’s one of the positives that we can draw from this tournament. We’ve never been challenged mentally, but this time around we were very much challenged.
Gradually we’re building our support for the team. I think South Africans will always want positive results for them to come to the stadium. If you under-perform they don’t have any reason to come. The people in Equatorial Guinea support their team no matter what. Their national team is the pride of their nation and they have that passion. As players we’ve learnt a bit in terms of convincing South African fans to come to our games. I think we’re doing well and we hope that they can continue supporting us. We really appreciate the little support that we have because we wouldn’t be where we are now if it wasn’t for our fans and the media at large for promoting our events and getting our stories in newspapers and magazines. There’s just been a lot of unity in South Africa around women’s football.