By Kushatha Ndibi
South Africa(2) 4
Thabethe 4, Ngwane 33, Mathibela 84, Phewa 92
Equatorial Guinea(1) 2
Essiane 11, 78-pen
The refereeing in the Banyana Banyana-Equatorial Guinea match was bad, to say the least.
The four officials, all from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, perhaps did their best to help the visitors with the scoreline during this Olympic preliminary qualifier, but they were unable to halt a rampant Banyana side.
Banyana's win means they are still in the qualifiers and will play DRC in May, while Guinea bite the dust.
I saw the fourth official, Solange Lulendo Mbiyavanga, showing his true colours when he raised his arm in jubilation after Clotilde Essiane of Guinea made it 2-2 from what appeared to be a doubtful penalty decision 12 minutes from time.
As if to punish the fans who were calling for her head, referee Bonda disallowed what seemed a legitimate goal by Portia Modise in the 60th minute.
An already livid Augustine Makalakalane, the Banyana coach, just couldn't stomach it anymore and told the whistlewoman what he thought of her decisions.
That earned him his marching orders from an upset Bonda, who still refused to start the game 30 seconds after Makalakalane had left for the stands.
She stood still on the pitch with her arms folded, ignoring the booing from the fans. The time-wasting tactic frustrated the hosts as they were in need of nothing less than a win to qualify for the next round. South Africa had lost 2-1 in the first leg.
At one point, Bonda appeared to have forgotten to stop the match while attending to an injured Guinea player. She realised her mistake only when talented midfielder Mpumi Nyandeni made a great pass to Veronica Phewa, who, in turn, found Modise lurking in the Guinea danger zone. Modise was well poised to blast the ball past the 'keeper when Bonda discovered that she, in fact, had a whistle.
Nthabeleng Mosebo, Hlengiwe Ngwane and Modise of Banyana were all yellow carded.
The hosts dominated the match from the start, but their lack of physique was often a let down against their muscular opponents. So fit were some of the Guinea players that most players in the PSL would be envious of them.
Thembelihle Thabethe took the lead in the fourth minute after a scramble that saw Nyandeni, Mamello Makhabane and Phewa misfiring in a bid to score.
Essiane equalised with a stunning header seven minutes later.
Makalakalane's girls went into half-time with a 2-1 lead, thanks to Ngwane's long-range scorcher from the centre line.
Keneilwe Mathibela netted Banyana's third goal from a well-taken Modise corner kick.
Phewa, who was unusually out of the game for most parts of the match, rifled in a stunner late in the match.
"The match officials knew we will play their home girls next and it was obvious they were trying hard to have Guinea as their opponents," Makalakalane told an unimpressed DRC television crew.