South Africa have put one foot into the finals of the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations with a dominant 2-0 victory in the first leg of their second round over Algeria at the Orlando Stadium on Friday.
They will likely be joined by Botswana, who defeated Zimbabwe 3-1 in their qualifier player in Harare to take against step towards the finals.
Goals from Hildah Magaia and Thembi Kgatlana put South Africa on top in their tie and barring a stirring comeback from the Algerians in the second leg at the Stade Omar Hamadi in Algiers on Wednesday, they should complete the job.
If Banyana Banyana scored just once in that game, it will leave the home side needing four goals to advance, which on their showing on Friday seems highly unlikely.
Still coach Des Ellis will certainly not seeing it as a done deal yet as she looks to qualify her side for the Cup of Nations finals in Morocco from July 2023.
From there, Banyana are aiming to reach the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and to do so automatically they need to finish in the top four at the Women’s Cup of Nations in Morocco.
It took Banyana 40 minutes to score their opener against the Algerians. Kholisa Biyana’s excellent corner was headed into the net by Hildah Magaia, who jumped ahead of Algeria goalkeeper Chloe N’Gazi.
Kgatlana, who had been closely watched in the game up to that point, finally got to run behind the Algeria defence, but her effort on goal was weak.
Captain Refiloe Jane’s blushes were spared when she hit a shot from two yards out onto the bar, only to be flagged offside, before Karabo Dlamini hit the top of the crossbar with a thunderous drive from 25-yards.
It should have been 2-0 when an excellent run and pull-back from Kgatlana set up a clear a shot at goal for Nomvula Kgoale, but the latter side-footed wide.
The second goal finally arrived when substitute Gabriella Salgado swung in a cross from the right and Kgatlana provided a neat finish at the back post.