Second Banyana Banyana group expected to land at OR Tambo

Following the return of the first three Banyana Banyana players after a long trip from Australia, the second group of is expected to land at the OR Tambo International Airport on Wednesday.

Hildah Magaia, Noko Matlou and Thembi Kgatlana arrived to a heroine’s welcome, as compatriots sang in jubilation on Tuesday evening.

The trio were delighted to be home in South Africa after a memorable Fifa Women’s World Cup tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

Banyana made history as they got their first point, won their first match in the global tournament, and then made a maiden appearance in the knockout stages.

“Each and every one of us is proud,” Magaia said.

“We went there with the mandate of qualifying for the Round of 16 and we did that. So, it is a proud moment for all of us.

“We picked up injuries [in the game against the Netherlands] and it really killed our morale in the game. But these things happen in football.”

Banyana’s hopes of progressing further in the competition suffered a massive blow against the Dutch when forward Jermaine Seoposenwe got a knock and was substituted in the 29th minute with youngster Wendy Shongwe.

Things worsened when tenacious defender Bambanani Mbane was taken off the pitch on a stretcher after suffering an ankle injury in the 39th minute, which led to another forced substitution.

Netherlands capitalised on Banyana’s unforeseen events and beat won the game 2-0, a result that veteran defender Matlou regards as unfortunate for the team.

“It is not by mistake that we won WAFCON [Women’s Africa Cup of Nations] last year,” she said.

“We went to the world cup, and we wanted to give our best, and we did our best. We went to the knockout stages and were just unlucky to lose to the Netherlands in the Round of 16.”

The third and last group of the South African squad is expected to return from Australia on Thursday.

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