The SA Under-17 Women’s team booked their place at the Fifa Junior World Cup in Uruguay with an emphatic 6-1 aggregate score over their Moroccan counterparts on Saturday.
Bantwana had almost but sealed a berth at the world stage after romping to a comfortable 5-1 first leg victory at Dobsonville Stadium two weeks ago, and although Morocco showed some fighting spirit at home, the passage to South America was never in doubt.
In a match played at Stade Boubker Ammar in Salé, the visitors were always comfortable and could have won by a bigger margin, but wasted countless glaring chances in the opening stanza.
Coach Simphiwe Dludlu made two forced changes from the first leg line-up, bringing in Khunjulwa Mali and Sibulele Holweni in only two changes from the first leg starting XI.
And it was Holweni’s magical goal that separated the two teams in the tightly contested second leg.
The strike came midway through the second half, although Bantwana finished the stronger of the two in the first half.
Holweni scored in the 68th minute to calm the visitors’ nerves after her long-range shot on the volley gave the Moroccan keeper no chance to all but put Bantwana on the plane to South America.
Bantwana head coach Simphiwe Dludlu after qualifying the SA U17 Women's National Team for the 2018 FIFA U17 Women's World Cup pic.twitter.com/B0nNcqLzw6— SAFA.net (@SAFA_net) February 17, 2018
Just three minutes before the opening goal, Thubelihle Shamase hoofed her shot over the bar when it appeared easier to score than miss.
That disappointment was short-lived though, as Holweni came to the party with an individual effort to complete a memorable day for the South Africans.
The World Cup will take place from November 13 to December 1 in Uruguay.
Meanwhile, Safa president Danny Jordaan has sent a congratulatory message to Bantwana for making the country proud.
“I am really proud of your achievements; going to the Fifa World Cup is the pinnacle of any football player’s achievements, and you have done so in style.
“I promised you to go to Spain as part of your preparations, and this will happen. It is part of us saying thank you and well done,” said Jordaan.