UWC Ladies FC members spearheaded Team South Africa into the semi-finals of the women’s football tournament at the 27th World Student Games, aka Summer Universiade, currently underway in Kazan, Russia.
The University Sport South Africa (USSA) team came back from a 2-0 down, stunning Japan 5-4 on penalties on 11 July 2013. The score was 3-3 after regulation time.
Japan, the silver medalists at the 2011 Games in Shenzhen, charged into a 2-0 lead thirty-two minutes after the start of the match with Naoka Sakaramoto and Chiho TaLekahashi scoring triumphantly.
The South Africans, however, maintained their composure, with Jermaine Seoposenwe of UWC and former Banyana Banyana captain Amanda Dlamini drawing the sides level just before the halftime break.
Leandra Smeda, another UWC star, struck seven minutes after the interval as they continued their gutsy comeback, but Asuka Nishikawa, from the Japanese side, equalised with twelve minutes left which meant that the game had to be decided in the penalty shootouts.
The SA team were flawless and scored all five of their spot-kicks, three of them by UWC members Smeda, Seoposenwe and goalkeeper Kaylin Swart. Noko Matlou and Dlamini converted the other two kicks. Japan missed the last kick by hitting the crossbar, sending the South Africans into frenzy. The South African team will meet Mexico in the semi-final on Saturday, 13 July.
“The girls showed a lot of character and a good fighting spirit, everyone was willing to sacrifice for the team on the field,” said South African coach Jerry Laka, a sports administrator at UWC.
“I was really worried when we were 2-0 down but because I believed in the girls, I knew that they will come back. The girls came back and showed that they really wanted it more.We had a vision when we left South Africa and we are still on course to achieve it.”