A first international goal for Motjeka Madisha helped Bafana Bafana to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Botswana in the Plate final of the 2018 COSAFA Cup at the New Peter Mokaba Stadium on Friday evening (8 June 2018).
Aubrey Modiba and Lebogang Maboe also scored as Bafana Bafana claimed a deserved victory having dominated the decider to lift the Plate for the second year running.
Coach Stuart Baxter will have learned plenty about the players in his youthful squad as they end their three-game campaign with just a single goal conceded and seven scored.
Baxter made just one enforced change from the side that beat Namibia 4-1 in the Plate semifinal, with Paseka Mako earning a first start in the place of the suspended Fortune Makaringe.
That meant the versatile Modiba moved from left-back into a more central midfield role.
The first real opening for South Africa came after 15 minutes as Siphesihle Ndlovu was played into space on the right and his ball across goal was inviting for Ryan Moon, but the forward's effort was deflected behind for a corner.
That combination worked well minutes later when Moon this timed cushioned his header into the path of Ndlovu, but the midfielder shot low and wide.
Lebohang Maboe had a shot from just outside the box that was dipping over Botswana goalkeeper Mwampole Masule, but drifted over the crossbar too.
Maboe then fed Moon for a chance from a tight angle, but Masule was equal to his first-time shot.
But from the resultant corner, South Africa hit the front. Botswana could only half-clear and when the ball came back to Modiba, his left-footed cross was perfect for Madisha to steer his header past a stranded Masule on 39 minutes.
It took Botswana until the 45th minute to have their first shot on goal, but Tebogo Sosome drilled his speculative effort from range wide as Bafana Bafana led 1-0 at halftime.
Botswana had two corners after the break and from the second of those Sosome saw his looping header drop onto the top of the crossbar and out.
Gift Links shot wide from distance as the pace of the game began to slow, with heavy legs on both sides a contributing factor.
Moon looped a header from a free-kick over the Botswana goal, but it was 2-0 to South Africa with 12 minutes remaining.
A swift break saw Ndlovu rampage down the right-hand side having beaten the offside trap and his square-ball was easily tapped home by Modiba for his second goal in as many matches.
Teenage forward Lyle Foster blasted the ball just over the bar late on, but the home side did grab another as Maboe raced clear and rounded Masule to score his third of the competition.
Modiba was chosen as the Man of the Match.
South Africa walk away with one-hundred-thousand-rand for their effort.
This is how they lined up:
Reyaad Pieterse (GK), Siyanda Xulu (c), Motjeka Madisha, Siyabonga Ngezana, Maphosa Modiba, Paseka Mako, Wiseman Meyiwa, Siphesihle Ndlovu, Gift Links (Jamie Webber), Lebohang Maboe (Luther Singh), Ryan Moon (Lyle Forster)
Bruce Bvuma (GK), Khulekani Kubheka (GK), Tareeq Fielies, Jamie Webber, Abednigo Mosiatlhaga, Lyle Foster, Luther Singh
Coach: Stuart Baxter
Mampole Masule (GK), Thabo Keble, Tshepo Maikano (c), Karabo Phiri, Lesego Keridilwe, Kabelo Seakanyeng, Onkabetse Makgantai, Gilbert Baruti, Tebogo Sosome, Godiraone Modingwane, Lesenya Ramoraka
Bophelo Kealeboga, Thatayaone Ditlhokwe, Alphonse Modisaotsile, Eric Molefi, Thatayaone Kgamanyane, Katlego Masole, Goitseone Phoko, Tumisang Orebonye, Gape Mohutswa