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.
“We knew Mali was going to be a tough match and as usual our analysis was spot on. We made sure that we neutralise the players we thought would pose any danger on us. I felt we were always in control, moments in the second half. I spoke about it in the dressing room that we needed to stay focused and also make sure we didn’t lose possession. And also made sure we don’t do silly mistakes but we always in control and got the second goal with few minutes to the end.” said Ellis
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. 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 Football Association. We wouldn’t have been anywhere if they weren’t on board. They have tremendous in the preparations we have had over a year. They made sure we made the best preparations possible.
We will celebrate tonight and start preparing for the final. 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 shot and see what happens on the weekend.” said coach Desiree Ellis
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.