South Africa’s national women’s soccer team has just made history by earning a spot in the 2019 World Cup after defeating Mali in the Africa Women Cup of Nations with goals from Thembi Kgatlana and Lebogang Ramalepe at the Cape Coast Stadium.
The team, nicknamed Banyana Banyana, secured a 2-0 win against Mali in the Africa Women Cup of Nations in Accra on 27 November according to the EWN. Banyana Banyana’s head coach Desiree Ellis has lauded the semifinal victory over Mali which has not only booked them a place in the final against Nigeria but also a first-ever spot at the Women’s World Cup in France next year. Janine Van Wyk, the team’s captain, also took to Twitter to celebrate the milestone, sharing pictures of her and fellow teammates in celebration.
“This is a victory for everyone in South Africa, for all the 50 million people who live in the country. We have brought hope to the hopeless and we have put a smile on someone’s face. This deserves a celebration and we will celebrate,” coach Ellis says.
The team will take on the reigning champions Nigeria at the Women’s Africa Cup on Nations this Saturday. The Nigerian Super Falcons beat out Cameroon to earn their win in the semi-finals. Both the Nigerian and South African teams have qualified for the 2019 World Cup games in France, where the Nigerian team will make their eighth World Cup appearance.
“We have to continue to be at our best against Nigeria in the final even though we have realised our dream of qualifying for the World Cup next year and our tournament hasn’t ended with this semifinal win over Mali.”
It will be the second time both Nigeria and South Africa will be meeting at AWCON 2018, and coach Ellis believes her team can beat the Super Falcons again to lift their first ever Africa Women Cup of Nations.