Banyana book their ticket to Nations Cup finals
SA women’s football team tick three important boxes in their 2-0 win over Burkina Faso
Three important boxes were ticked by Banyana Banyana in their 2-0 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) second-leg qualifier win over Burkina Faso at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Monday.
On a scorching hot afternoon when temperatures exceeded 33°C, Banyana ensured they will defend their Wafcon title at the tournament in Morocco in 2024.
The win on Monday, courtesy of a second-half penalty by Linda Motlhalo and a goal by substitute attacker Nicole Michael, meant SA progressed 3-1 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw in the opening leg in Ivory Coast last week.
The second box ticked was that legendary defender Janine van Wyk was given her record 185th cap. The third box was that coach Desiree Ellis stood in her 100th match in charge of the team since taking over from Vera Pauw in 2016.
Ellis started deploying Van Wyk in the middle of the park where she operated with Jermaine Seoposenwe, Motlhalo and Noxolo Cesane. That meant Van Wyk inscribed her name in the history books of African football as she became the most-capped footballer from the continent, male or female.
Van Wyk, who was replaced by Lebohang Ramalepe after eight minutes to rapturous applause from the small crowd, broke the long-standing record held by Egyptian legend Ahmed Hassan.
SA were on the offensive from the start and had numerous chances that threatened Burkina Faso goalkeeper Faoziatou Ouedraogo, their most notable attempt bouncing off the upright.
Banyana created the better chances of the opening half but twin strikers Hilda Magaia and Thembi Kgatlana lacked the killer instinct.
Burkina Faso could have opened the scoring after 24 minutes but goalkeeper Kaylin Swart moved off her line to thwart Limata Nikiema.
Banyana came back from the break with greater purpose and their persistence paid off in the 54th minute when Ramalepe forced Rasmata Sawadogo to concede a penalty.
Motlhalo showed nerves of steel as she stepped up under pressure to put the ball past Ouedraogo, who dived the right way but was beaten by the speed of the ball.
Two minutes from time, Banyana put the match beyond doubt when promising attacker Michael put the ball in the back of the net past Ouedraogo to seal a place at Wafcon.
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