CAPE COAST, GHANA – After countless efforts, South Africa finally qualified for the Women’s World Cup for the first time after beating Mali 2-0 in their semi-final clash on Tuesday in Cape Coast.
“We knew that we had accomplished what we wanted to do and that's going to the World Cup. This is not about this team only,” said Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis.
“This is about all of South Africa. This is about all the coaches there before. About all the players who have been there before. It is also about the [SA] football association. We wouldn't have been anywhere if they weren't on board. They have been tremendous in the preparations we have had over a year. They made sure we made the best preparations possible.”
Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana and Lebohang Ramalepe scored in either half as Banyana set up a final date with rivals Nigeria on Saturday in Accra. Defending champions Nigeria had earlier edged Cameroon 4-2 on penalties in the other semifinal game in Accra.
This is the fourth time South Africa has reached the final of the flagship women’s competition. Now Ellis and her charges will be seeking to make history by winning the event after achieving qualification to the World Cup.
“We will celebrate tonight and start preparing for the final,” said Ellis.
“We are not a team that talk much in the media. We will work together as a team and plan again. And hope to execute the plan because that's all it is about. We have never won the Women's Afcon and we are going to give it a shot and see what happens on the weekend.”
In their three previous final appearances, South Africa lost to Nigeria in 2000, before suffering defeats to Equatorial Guinea in 2008 and four years later.
Meanwhile, Cameroon will face Mali in the third place match on Friday in Cape Coast that will also determine the final African representative for the Women’s World Cup in France next year.
African News Agency (ANA)