A lapse in concentration early in the match by Banyana Banyana saw The Netherlands emerge victorious in the first of two international friendly matches.
The clash took place at the Mandemakers Stadium in Waalwijk, Netherlands on Saturday, 4 June.
The Sasol-sponsored Banyana are using this match to prepare for the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympic Games scheduled for August.
The South Africans conceded a foul close to their goals, and failed to defend the subsequent free-kick, giving The Netherlands their lead – and eventually their win.
Head coach Vera Pauw believes her charges did not disappoint despite the loss.
“At the start my players were nervous, thinking that The Netherlands is a top country, and didn’t know what to expect. I could see they had too much respect for them but from the moment they felt they could play against them, they got more confident. At half time we made a few changes – and this helped us in the second half as it stopped the Dutch team from going forward. They didn’t know how to get behind our defence, and we ended up with better chances. We could have scored at least two goals,” said Pauw.
She added that there were lessons learnt in preparations for the likes of Sweden, China and Brazil at the Olympics.
“Of course for us this is a good result, but it’s more about the performance which gave hope for improvement. We only conceded the goal because we did not stick to the game plan – like wrong players in the wall, which closed the view for the goalkeeper. And at this level such things cost you the game, in that sense it was a good learning curve and we cannot afford to make such mistakes. I keep saying, if you don’t make silly mistakes then you stand a good chance against any team,” added the South African mentor.
The two nations will meet in a repeat fixture on Tuesday, 7 June at the same venue.
Kickoff is at 19h00.
Pauw is adamant it will be a completely different game altogether.
“We have to be honest because the Dutch team did not play all their top players, so Tuesday will not be any easier, infact it will be harder. But that is good for us to show we can also step up a gear as we go into the Olympics – move from strength to strength. We need to see how we perform when they have their full squad. Today we definitely showed what we are capable of,” concluded Pauw.