Saturday, 23 July 2022, will be a historic day in South African football as Banyana Banyana edged Morocco 2-1 to win their maiden Women’s Africa Cup of Nations title at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium.
It was Banyana’s sixth attempt, as they have been denied in five previous Women’s Afcon finals – 1995, 2000, 2008, 2012, and 2018.
“This is for everyone in women’s football that has tirelessly worked towards this goal. We finally did it. It was a good performance,” star Banyana forward Jermaine Seoposenwe told SuperSport TV during a post-match interview.
“This was our goal. We as a team decided this is where we want to be, and we want to win it for South Africa. I am so proud of my team. We love you. We’re so proud to be South African.
“We are so proud that we can go out there and make the country proud and put smiles on the faces of the people of South Africa. That was our goal coming into this tournament, and we did it.
“We always play with our hearts on our sleeves. We hope that they are ecstatic and that the streets are going crazy right now, and we can’t wait to come home with the cup.”
The South African ladies have been in camp for over forty days but arrived in Rabat, Morocco, on Wednesday, 22 June, and will touchdown back in the country on Tuesday, 26 July with the trophy, gold medals, and without tasting defeat at the tournament.
Desiree Ellis’s charges beat tournament favorites Nigeria before nudging aside Burundi and Botswana to lay claim to Group C.
Next, Banyana edged Tunisia and Zambia in the quarters and semis to set up the final against the host nation, who beat knocked out the Super Falcons to ensure a first-time winner will be crowned.
“It means so much,” expressed an emotional Ellis.
“Not just to us as a group but to the whole of South Africa, to the coaches that have come before, to the players that have come before.
“This is for everyone connected to women’s football. A big thank you to SAFA, a big thank you to Sasol, and to the fans as well.
“But most importantly, to the players, they were absolutely magnificent today, to the staff, they have done the tireless work behind the scenes.”
The score was goalless at half-time despite Banyana creating at least two goal-scoring chances.
However, Ellis revealed that she made necessary tactical tweaks to ensure they broke the deadlock, with Hildah Magaia’s brace coming after 15 minutes into the second half.
The tail-end of the match finished with nerves after Rosella Ayane netted in the 80th minute and the Moroccan crowd became more hostile, cheering on their side to find the equalizer.
“We said we must continue playing, we could have scored before half-time, but we said continue rotating the ball, hit them down the channels because they push their full-backs up.
“We played one ball diagonally, and we got a goal, and we played another ball, and we got a goal.
“We gave a goal away poorly, but I thought defensively, and all-around, our plan worked. We said to the players; we’ve got to help each other on the pitch because we might be able to get a word across (because of the noise).
“I take my hat off to the whole team; they were absolutely magnificent. They stuck to the game plan; they did not allow them (Morocco) to play.”