South Africa claimed a thrilling 2-1 victory over Central African guest nation Cameroon in the final of the 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championship as Refiloe Jane proved the hero with both goals at the Wolfson Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay on Saturday.
Jane bagged a goal in each half, either side of a strike by Genevieve Ngo Mbeleck, as Banyana Banyana retained the title they won in Zimbabwe last year. It is a fifth win in six tournaments for the team and an excellent warm-up for the African Women’s Championship in Ghana in November.
South Africa started on the front foot and might have had two goals early on, but forward Jermaine Seoposenwe was unable to convert.
She first missed with a header and then shot tamely into the arms of Cameroon goalkeeper Annette Ngo Ndom as both opportunities went begging.
Cameroon had chances of their own though, and on one break found Abena Ninon through on goal from a tight angle and she shot wildly over the bar.
The home side took the lead in emphatic fashion just before halftime though as the ball fell to Jane 25-yards from goal and her shot arrowed into the bottom corner of the net, leaving Ngo Ndom with no chance.
South Africa led 1-0 at the break, but were almost made to pay for some hesitant defending 10 minutes into the second period when fullback Nothando Vilakazi lost possession in the box, but with two bites of the cherry, Cameroon midfielder Raissa Feudjio could only shoot straight at home goalkeeper Kaylin Swart.
Swart was then forced into an excellent save from Madeleine Ngono Mani’s header from a free-kick, acrobatically beating the ball over her bar.
Cameroon did find their equaliser on 66 minutes though as Ngo Mbeleck showed some neat footwork in the box before placing the ball into the corner of South Africa’s net.
South Africa captain Janine van Wyk forced a save from Ngo Ndom with a free-kick from 30-yards, the keeper needing two attempts to make the stop.
Thembi Kgatlana had an excellent chance to score the winner from eight yards, but her shot was beaten away by Ngo Ndom.
But South Africa did grab the victory right at the death as Jane showed excellent pace to outsprint the Cameroon defence and then provided a composed left-footed finish low past a stranded Ngo Ndom.
Ngo Mbeleck was named Player of the Tournament after an excellent campaign, while Goalkeeper of the Tournament went to Uganda’s Ruth Atoru. Banyana midfielder Linda Motlhalo finished with the Golden Boot foir her four goals in the competition, while Zambia picked up the Fair Play award.
At Wolfson Stadium
Cameroon 1 (Genevieve Ngo Mbeleck) South Africa 2 (Refiloe Jane 2)
FINAL GROUP STANDINGS
GROUP A P W D L GF GA PTS
South Africa 3 3 0 0 9 1 9
Botswana 3 1 1 1 2 1 4
Malawi 3 1 0 2 2 8 3
Madagascar 3 0 1 2 1 4 1
GROUP B P W D L GF GA PTS
Zambia 3 3 0 0 6 0 9
Cameroon 3 2 0 1 14 2 6
Mozambique 3 1 0 2 3 12 3
Lesotho 3 0 0 3 1 10 0
GROUP C P W D L GF GA PTS
Uganda 3 2 1 0 6 4 7
Zimbabwe 3 2 0 1 5 2 6
Namibia 3 1 1 1 4 2 4
Eswatini 3 0 0 3 4 11 0
Matches Played: 22
Goals scored: 64
Biggest victory: Cameroon 8 Mozambique 1 (Group B, September 13)
Most goals in a game: 9 – Cameroon 8 Mozambique 1 (Group B, September 13)
4 goals – Linda Motlhalo (South Africa)
3 – Mpeh Bissong (Cameroon), Edith Ngo Mbeleck (Cameroon), Khanya Xesi (South Africa)
2 – Tracey Akiror (Uganda), Barbra Banda (Zambia),Cidalia Cuta (Mozambique), Refiloe Jane (South Africa), Lina Katuta (Namibia), Madeleine Ngono Mani (Cameroon), Raissa Mbappe (Cameroon), Hasifah Nassuna (Uganda), Celiwe Nkambule (Eswatini), Marjory Nyaumwe (Zimbabwe), Jermaine Seoposenwe (South Africa)
1 – Eliane Bodolo (Cameroon), Zainab Kapanda (Malawi), Linda Kasenda (Malawi), Lesego Keleboge (Botswana), Rutendo Makore (Zimbabwe), Litseoana Maloro (Lesotho), Catherine Mbengono (Cameroon), Charlene Meyong (Cameroon), Tenanile Mgcamphalala (Eswatini), Lucia Moçambique (Mozambique), Kgaelebane Mohlakoana (South Africa), Lovisa Mulunga (Namibia), Felistas Muzongondi (Zimbabwe), Mary Mwakapila (Zambia), Lushomo Mweemba (Zambia), Juliet Nalukenge (Uganda), Rachel Nachula (Zambia), Resty Nanziri (Uganda), Abena Ninon (Cameroon), Agnes Nkada (Cameroon), Alupo Norah (Uganda), Susan Nyama (Zimbabwe), Lesego Radiakanyo (Botswana), Sarah Rasoanandrasana (Madagascar), Cebile Shongwe (Eswatini), Kylie van Wyk (Namibia), Nothando Vilakazi (South Africa),Claudy Ychadeu (Cameroon), Misozi Zulu (Zambia).