Zimbabwe qualify for AWCN, South Africa close in

The South African Womens’ team is 90 minutes away from qualifying for the 2016 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCN) in Cameroon later this year, where they would join regional rivals Zimbabwe.

Banyana Banyana defeated COSAFA neighbours Botswana 2-0 on Saturday at the Lobatse Sports Complex and now return home for the return leg with a big advantage.

Zimbabwe have already booked their passage after a 4-2 aggregate victory over Zambia that included a 1-0 home win last Wednesday and a 3-2 away success on Sunday.

Striker Sanah Mollo had South Africa’s best chance in the first half when she was free on goal but shot wide in the 30th minute.
Botswana looked very solid, organised and very determined – they were in total control of the first half with Banyana Banyana defending with everything they had and managed to hold on until the halftime break.

At the start of the second stanza, South Africa’s coach Vera Pauw brought on Thembi Kgatlana for Silindile Ngubane – but the former lasted only eight minutes on the pitch as she was carried off with an ankle sprain. Her place was taken by Shiwe Nogwanya.

Banyana Banyana then upped their tempo and were rewarded with a goal in the 69th minute from Mollo – her powerful strike hitting the upright and hit the back of the Botswana goalkeeper to go into the net.

From here on South Africa took complete control of the game as the home side slowed down. Linda Motlhalo was brought in to take the place of Nompulelo Nyandeni.

Mollo then registered her second of the day and second for Banayana Banyana when she found the back of the net in the 73rd minute – by that time the hosts didn’t look like they would come back.

And that is how it ended with South Africa having an advantage going into the second leg on Tuesday, 12 April at the Makhulong Stadium. Kick-off is at 19h00.