Tiisetso Makhubela scored the only goal of the game as Banyana Banyana claimed a 1-0 victory over Zambia and a hat-trick of Cosafa Women’s Championship titles at a packed Wolfson Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay on Sunday.
It is the third year in a row that coach Desiree Ellis has led her side to regional success, but this time it was achieved without her overseas stars, as the likes of Thembi Kgatlana, Linda Motlhalo and Leandra Smeda were missing due to club duty.
It is the perfect warm-up for the Olympic Games qualifier against Botswana that starts later in August, with Ellis able to blood a number of new names at international level.
The success was deserved, with Banyana comfortably the most accomplished team in the competition, and having also recorded their biggest win with a 17-0 hammering of Comoros Islands in their opening match.
In a sign of how Banyana have captured the interest of the country following their recent appearance at the Fifa World Cup in France, the stands at the stadium were overflowing, albeit that organisers had made the entrance free.
Zambia offered little resistance, with their main threat coming from former 400m sprinter Rachael Nachula, whose explosive pace helped her finish as the leading scorer in the competition with 10 goals.
Banyana were on top from the start as Amanda Mthandi and Busisiwe Ndimeni combined well on the right-hand side of the box, with the latter blazing her shot over the bar from 10m.
They had the ball in the back of the net on 18 minutes when Ndimeni’s break on the right saw her cross deflect off a Zambian defender and into the path of Noxolo Cesane, who finished at the back post.
The flag was raised by the assistant referee in what appeared a poor decision.
But the home side did have the lead three minutes later as Mamello Makhabane's free-kick was spilled by Zambia goalkeeper Hazel Nali and Makhubela blasted the ball into the empty net for her second international goal.
Ellis has now coached Banyana in 15 matches at the Cosfa Women’s Championship, winning 13 and drawing the other two.