Banyana Banyana of South Africa have been crowned champions of the continent after they beat hosts Morocco to claim their maiden Women’s Africa Cup of Nation title on Saturday.
It was a tightly-contested final but in the end, a brave and clinical display from Desiree Ellis’s chargers saw them overcome the intimidating home atmosphere to win the match 2-1.
After a goalless first half, Hildah Magaia put Banyana Banyana in the lead when she beat Morocco goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi with a clinical finish in the 63rd minute following some good work on the left by hard-running Jermaine Seoposenwe.
Magaia was at the double in the 71st minute, finishing neatly by dinking the ball over the onrushing Er-Rmichi after the defender made a hash of her attempted clearance from a Karabo Dhlamini cross from wide.
Morocco, though fought back and ensured it would be a nervy ending for those in the stands and watching in South Africa as Rosella Ayane made it 2-1 in the 80th minute.
Banyana were able to hold for the win, despite an extra nine minutes added on at the end of the match.
It ended a run of five finals without success for South Africa, who completed the tournament in Morocco with a 100 per cent record.
Coach, Desiree Ellis said that this win had been a long time coming.
“When we walked out and saw the sea of red, I was not perturbed. You could see the focus on the player’s faces, they were not perturbed. The players were really determined and from the first moment, you could see that they wanted to win it. Today they showed true kasi flavour and the South African spirit and togetherness all came together”.
Individual performances were also recognized as Andile Dlamini walked away with the Goalkeeper of the Tournament award at a ceremony held on the pitch moments before the official handover of the trophy to the new champions.
The accolades on the night kept coming as South Africa was also named the women’s National Team of the Year.
Tonight we celebrate 😭🇿🇦💚💛
— Banyana_Banyana (@Banyana_Banyana) July 23, 2022