The SA senior national women team started life under a new mentor and despite showing glimpses of promise, generally gave the kind of display that might have been a nightmare to the acting head coach – Desiree Ellis.
They created enough chances to have buried their opponents Zimbabwe under an avalanche of goals in the opening match of their CAF African Women Cup of Nations in Yaoundé on Saturday, but had nothing to show for all their huffing and puffing as they ended up sharing the spoils in a goalless stalemate.
Shiwe Nogwanya and Linda Kgatlana missed a baker’s dozen of chances against a plucky Zimbabwe that was clobbered 3-0 by their opponents in a preparation friendly in Harare only a fortnight ago, but held on gamely and in the end deserved the solitary point.
Ellis had rung the changes and with several veterans like Sanah Mollo and Amanda Dlamini (dropped) while Noko Matlou warmed the bench, it was expected that Banyana would blossom under the new regime but seemed to badly need the guidance of some of the old guards.
Refiloe Jane was surprisingly deployed on the wing and she was hardly effective as she drifted too far from the action and the midfield gave away possession so cheaply that at one stage they gifted Zimbabwe free passage but their opponents could not benefit from the manna presented to them.
Ellis must have been concerned about the two points they dropped in the clash more than anything as this now puts them on the back foot going into their next group match against hosts Cameroon, who dispatched of Egypt 2-0 earlier to lead the group.
SA has come to this tournament brimming with confidence and promising to shed their bridesmaid tag, but if their performance against the Mighty Warriors is anything to go by, they might still be a long way from realizing their long held dream and ambitions of winning gold.