Smeda expects spirited Equatorial Guinea outfit

Leandra Smeda says their victory over Nigeria is a thing of the past now and they expect Equatorial Guinea to pose a big threat on Wednesday.

Banyana Banyana's Thembi Kgatlana (L) and Leandra Smeda (R) celebrate after winning the Cosafa Women’s Championship against Zimbabwe at the Barbourfields Stadium on 24 September 2017. Picture: safa.net

JOHANNESBURG - Banyana Banyana midfielder Leandra Smeda says the team expects a fired-up Equatorial Guinea side in their second group game in this year’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament on Wednesday night.

Banyana are riding a crest of a wave from beating defending champions Nigeria in their opening game of the tournament, while the ladies from Equatorial Guinea were thrashed 5-0 by Zambia in their opener after they were given a reprieve by CAF to participate in the tournament at the expense of Kenya.

Smeda says their victory over Nigeria is a thing of the past now and they expect Equatorial Guinea to pose a big threat on Wednesday.

“We beat Nigeria, but we now need to shift the focus to Equatorial Guinea who are going to be very tough. We saw their game against Zambia, even though they lost, they are also going to take this game as a new game and will be fired-up against us.”

The 29-year-old midfielder who plies her trade for Gintra Universitetas in Lithuania believes that since their famous triumph over Nigeria, they now have a huge target on their backs and every side will be gunning to take them down.

“I know when teams play South Africa they come all out so I know it is going to be tough against Guinea, but we need to stick to our game plans and hopefully we will get the results that we want.”

A win for Banyana will see them have one foot in the semifinals of the continental showpiece. And at the back of their minds there will be a thought of finally winning the tournament for the first time in their history or finish within the top three places in order to book their place in next year’s Fifa Women’s World Cup in France.

The match against Equatorial Guinea kicks off at 20:30 South African time.