By Akosua Adjei
The Banyana Banyana of South Africa have been crowned champions of the 2022 Total Energies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.
Hilda Magaia brace in the second half gave South Africa the lead before Rosella Ayane restored parity for the Atlas Lionesses.
Banyana Banyana started off their journey in Group B alongside Nigeria, Burundi and Botswana. The champions are classic championship spirit won 2-1 against Nigeria, 3-1 against Burundi before finishing it off 1-0 against COSAFA rivals Botswana.
However, before the commencement of the knockout stage, they were rocked by the injury of Thembi Kagtlana. Their star player sustained a complete rupture of the left Achilles tendon against Botswana, confirmed by the MRI scan. This injury, unfortunately, ruled her out of the Wafcon tournament. Jermaine Seoposenwe and Linda Motlhalo stepped up when needed, especially in the absence of Thembi.
A Jermaine Seoposenwe 14th-minute goal gave South Africa qualification into the semi-finals as well as a ticket to the 2023 Australia New Zealand Women’s World Cup.
Linda Motlhalo scored from the spot in the 94-minute against Zambia to leapfrog Banyana Banyana into a finals date with host Morocco.
It was a battle between a coach who has won the UEFA Women’s Champions League Coach and Africa’s best Coach Desiree Ellis. In the end, South Africa reigned supreme and after knocking on the doors of the WAFCON trophy for over a decade, the doors were finally opened and they were crowned Champions.
Best goalkeeper: Andile Dlamini
Total Energies Woman of the Competition: Ghizlane Chebbak
Fair Play award: South Africa