25 November 2018

South Africa: Banyana Banyana Through to the Semi-Final of the 2018 Women's Afcon

Photo: Premium Times
Super Falcons of Nigeria.

Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana are through to the semi-finals of the 2018 Women's AFCON following a 1-1 draw against Zambia in the Battle of the South played at the Accra Sports Stadium in Ghana on Saturday, 24 November 2018.

This was South Africa's seventh last four qualification in a row in the tournament - the last time they failed to do so was in 2004 when Banyana Banyana hosted the competition.

Head coach Desiree Ellis made three changes to the squad that walloped Equatorial Guinea 7-1 - restoring the starting line-up that took on Nigeria, but minus Jermaine Seoposenwe.

Thembi Kgatlana was quick off the mark to put South Africa into the lead with a goal in the seventh minute - her fourth goal in the three matches in the tournament, which saw her walk away with the Woman of the Match for third time in a row, the only player to do so in the competition.

But the celebrations had hardly died down when Zambia stunned Banyana Banyana with an equaliser just a minute later after the defence was caught napping.

South Africa was not playing their usual flowing football as Zambia threw everything at them, bar the kitchen sink.

Their play was lethargic, and they missed the easiest of chances - in one instances Kgatlana rounded off the keeper but saw her shot go agonizingly wide of the Zambia goals.

Ellis introduced fresh legs in the second half, bringing on Seoposenwe for Busisiwe Ndimeni, while Melinda Kgadiete, making her first ever appearance in the tournament, took the place of Mamello Makhabane.

In the end, the draw was enough to see South Africa to the next round while the Zambians were eliminated after Nigeria showed no mercy to Equatorial Guinea, beating them 6-0 to secure the other semi-final spot.

Banyana Banyana will return to Cape Coast to face Mali from Group A, who will be making their first appearance in the last four of this tournament, while Nigeria and Cameroon will battle it out in Accra for a spot in the final.

The top three from this quartet will represent the African continent at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France, scheduled for June.

This is how they lined up:

South Africa:

Kaylin Swart (GK), Lebohang Ramalepe, Nothando Vilakazi, Janine Van Wyk (captain), Busisiwe Ndimeni (Jermaine Seoposenwe), Linda Motlhalo, Thembi Kgatlana, Refiloe Jane, Bambanani Mbane, Leandra Smeda, Mamello Makhabane (Melinda Kgadiete)

Subs:

Roxanne Barker (GK), Andile Dlamini (GK), Noko Matlou, Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Koketso Tlailane, Amanda Mthandi, Melinda Kgadiete, Kgaelebane Mohlakoana, Tiisetso Makhubela, Jermaine Seoposenwe

Coach: Desiree Ellis

Zambia:

Hazel Nali (GK), Lushomo Mweemba, Judith Zulu, Anita Mulenga, Margret Belemu, Racheal Kundananji, Grace Chanda, Ireene Lungu, Martha Tembo, Hellen Chanda, Mary Mwakapila

Subs:

Catherine Musonda (GK), Grace Zulu, Hellen Mubanga, Ochumba Lubandji, Barbra Banda, Agness Musase, Chiko Nkhoma (GK), Vast Phiri, Jackline Nkole, Avell Chitundu

Coach: Bruce Mwape

MATCH OFFICIALS:

REFEREE: CAROLYNE WANJALA KENYA

ASS. REF. 1: BERNADETTAR KWINMBIRA MALAWI

ASS. REF. 2: FATIHA JERMOUMI MOROCCO

4THOFFICIAL: LETTICA VIANA eSwatini

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