South Africa qualify for Womens Africa Cup of Nations

Banyana Banyana qualified for the 2016 Cameroon Womens Africa Cup of Nations tournament scheduled in scintillating style after dispatching Botswana on a cool evening at the Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa on Tuesday night (12 April 2016).

The in-form South African Senior Women’s National Team is one of the two African teams, together with Zimbabwe, going to the 2016 Rio Olympics – and the qualification for the WACN cemented their claim as one of the fastest rising women’s teams.

The qualification also underscored the regularity in which South African national teams are beginning to qualify for major tournaments on the continent and globally, and becoming a major force to be reckoned with.

There were two changes to the playing personnel from the clash in Lobatse – Silindile Ngubane and Leandra Smeda made way for Lebo Ramalepe and Linda Motlhalo.

Leading 2-0 from the first leg in Botswana, the home team wanted to put the match to bed as early as possible and in the 3rd minute Sanah Mollo lobbed over the bar from inside the box. Moments later she found herself face to face with the opposition goalkeeper but again failed to convert.

Urged on by a good crowd and a brass band on a vibrant evening in the East Rand, the Vera Pauw-led squad was always a threat when going for the attack.

After sustained pressure, Banyana Banyana were awarded the penalty in the 18th minute which was coolly converted by Mamello Makhabane to give the home side a 1-0 lead.

Seven minutes later, Mollo finished a well constructed move which saw her receive a delicate pass from captain Janine van Wyk before slotting past a stranded Lesedilame Bosija in the goals for Botswana, for a 2-0 scoreline on the night – 4-0 aggregate.

This was Mollo’s third goal in two matches – she scored a brace in Lobatse in the first leg.

It was soon 3-0 when Nompumelelo Nyandeni’s vicious shot took a massive deflection giving the Bosija no chance as the home side started to put on the show.

At the break, the home side led 3-0.

With such a massive cushion, Banyana Banyana predictably took the foot off the pedal as they ran rings around the visitors.

Apart from qualifying for AWC, it was a night to remember for record-setting Banyana Banyana captain Janine van Wyk who was playing in her 127th match for the national team.

Pauw made three changes during the match, bringing on Thembi Kgatlana, Bambanani Mbane and Stephanie Malherbe for Linda
Motlhalo, Noko Matlou and Nompumelelo Nyandeni respectively.

Mbane was making her debut, while Makhabane was chosen as the Diski Queen of the Match.

Since their first participation in the tournament in 1995, the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana has been ever present in the Women Africa Cup of Nations.