After countless efforts, South Africa finally qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time after beating Mali 2-0 in their semi-final clash on Tuesday in Cape Coast.
Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana and Lebohang Ramalepe scored in either half as Banyana Banyana set up a final date with eternal rivals Nigeria on Saturday in Accra. Holders Nigeria had earlier edged Cameroon 4-2 on penalties in the other semi-final game in Accra.
This is the fourth time South Africa has reached the final of the flagship women’s competition. And Desiree Ellis and her charges will be seeking to make history by winning the ultimate after achieving qualification to the World Cup.
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.
Banyana captain Janine van Wyk was the first to threaten Mali's goal with a long-range free-kick in the opening minutes was no trouble for the Mali goalie.
On 31 minutes, Kgatlana broke the deadlock after capitalising on a poor clearance by the Malian defender, to fire home the opener and her fifth of the tournament.
The South Africans maintained control of the game but had to wait till the 81 st minute to be certain of victory after Ramalepe’s long shot beat Malian shot stopper Adoudou Konate.
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 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France next year.
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