What you need to know:
- After three weeks of grueling football, South Africa beat hosts Morocco 2-1 in the finals at Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat to clinch the title.
Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis dedicated their maiden Women Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) title to “everyone connected to South Africa football”.
After three weeks of grueling football, South Africa beat hosts Morocco 2-1 in the finals at Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat to clinch the title.
But it has been a long time coming for the nation that has been to 13 of the 14 Wafcon editions. South Africa had before Saturday been to five finals and had lost three to Nigeria, including the 2018 one which came two years into Ellis’ tenure, and two to Equatorial Guinea.
“I want to dedicate this to everyone back home, the fans, the coach and especially the players who were magnificent today,” Ellis, who also played for Banyana Banyana between 1993 and 2002, said.
Her side came into a game where they had to face a home team backed by about 50,000 fans. The first half was indeed open ended with both sides having good chances but it ended goalless.
“We came out to play in Equatorial Guinea (2008 and 2012) and were greeted by a sea of red in the stands. We have played in the biggest stadium in Brazil too so we knew what to expect.
We knew that if we controlled the game, we would subdue the fans and we tried to do that.
“At halftime, we asked the players to continue rotating the ball, play to our game plan and when we got one ball through the channel, we scored. We got one diagonal ball and scored another,” Ellis added in a post-match interview with SuperSport.
The first goal came after Jermaine Seoposenwe did all the hard work in the 63rd minute to tee up Hilda Magai.
Seven minutes later, a sumptuous diagonal delivery from left-back Karabo Dhlamini was cushioned home by Magai, who has proved to be a good striking option in the absence of the injured danger woman Thembi Kgatlana, to make it 2-0.
WOMEN AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS
Morocco 1-2 South Africa
Champions: South Africa, Runners-up: Morocco,
MVP: Ghizlane Chebbak (Morocco)
Best goalkeeper: Andile Dilamini (South Africa)
Top scorers: Ghizlane Chebbak (Morocco), Rasheedat
Ajibade (Nigeria), Hilda Magaia (South Africa) – 3 goals