Banyana Banyana march on to COSAFA Semi-finals

 Banyana Banyana are through to the semi-finals of the COSAFA Women’s Championship after a 3-1 victory over Mozambique at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Monday afternoon.

It was a do or die game for the defending champions who needed a victory to seal a place in the semi-finals of the competition that they have won in the last four occasions.

The hosts were motivated from the first whistle against the bottom placed yet stubborn Mozambican side who were not going to go down without a fight.

Banyana’s midfielder Sibulele Holweni got the breakthrough goal in the 23rd minute and the team went to the half-time break with an advantage.

Not to be outdone, Mozambique came back strong in the second half with skipper, Cina Manual finding an equalizer for the visitors in the 63rd minute but there was a quick response from the defending champs as Melinda Kgadiete banged her second goal of the tournament to restore the lead for South Africa.

The 2020 COSAFA Women’s Cup top goal scorer, Sibulele Holweni completed her brace in the 76th minute and sealed the victory and semi-final spot for Desiree Ellis’s side.

Banyana coach Desiree Ellis was impressed with her team’s resilience and character but believes there is still work to be done.

“We started very well, we could have been 2-0 up in the early stages of the game. We had some great chances,” said Ellis.

“When we scored we almost took our foot off the pedal and that is when you need to take control of the game and make sure that you play to your tempo and make the opponents play at your tempo.”

“We knew that Mozambique was going to come at us, we have seen their games and they don’t give up. We were talking on the bench that we needed that second goal but then we defended poorly to concede and it was back to chasing the game.”

“We were not worried about what was happening in the other game between Angola and Malawi, we just knew that we had to win our game and the team showed great resilience, character and mental strength that is second to none. A lot of them come from the Buhari Cup and most are being challenged, mentally and physically but I think everyone that played today, stood up.” added Ellis.

“We will have our recovery session tomorrow to prepare and we will know who will be our semi-final opponents. We have got to be better going into the semi-finals because there is no room for error there.” Concluded the coach.

Banyana Banyana finished top of Group A with seven points and will have to wait until Tuesday after the final round of pool games to know their next opponents.

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