South Africa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(1)4
Botswana. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
Defending champions South Africa were at their ruthless best as they thumped a hapless Botswana team to sail through to the semi-finals of the Cosafa Women’s football championships in what can be described as a lopsided match at Gwanzura Stadium on Sunday.
South Africa join Tanzania into the semi-final pot after the East African special guests had beaten Zambia 2–0 in an earlier match at the same venue yesterday. Striker Asha Sada Rashid scored a brace for Tanzania.
Banyana Banyana lead Group B with six points while Tanzania has the same number of points but an inferior goal difference. The two teams will now meet on Thursday to determine the winner of the group.
Other Group B members, Botswana and Zambia will make an early trip back home despite promising so much before the tournament. Group A remains wide open after Lesotho pulled out a cat from the hat to beat Mozambique 3-2 in a match that was played at Rufaro on Sunday.
Mehalalitoe, who were humbled 4-0 by Zimbabwe have three points and are second on the log behind the hosts who are playing Malawi at Rufaro Stadium on Monday.
Malawi will be coming into the match perched on third position with a single point while Mozambique anchors the log also on one point but with an inferior goal difference.
Banyana coach Joseph Mkhonza said of his team’s semi-final qualification and his chances of retaining the trophy this year:
“I’m very happy with my team’s performance so far and the result today. We still have one match in the group stages against a very good Tanzania side so I will have to focus on that one. I don’t want to count the chickens before they hatch.”
His opposite number Gaoletlhoo Nkutlwisang looked dejected after the match: “I’m very disappointed that we couldn’t make it to the semi-final round but credit should be given to the South Africans, they deserved it. They are physically fit and were better prepared for the tournament because their team was together for a long time as they are playing in the All Africa Games and the Olympics. For us we had only four days to prepare for this tournament and we paid dearly.”
Banyana controlled the match from the first whistle and got their well deserved opener through captain Amanda Dlamini who beat goalkeeper Kagiso Ramogerita with a low shot after 16 minutes.
The defending champions looked dangerous at every possible opportunity but could not breach Ramogerita in goal for Botswana but Noku Mtlou’s goal early in the second half ignited fire in the Banyana side.
Midfielder Mamello Makhabane and substitute Zanele Sukazi, scored the other goals to add to the woes of Nkutlwisang’s side who were overpowered by the sheer brute strength and quality of their opponents.
South Africa were unfortunate to end the game with 10 players after Yola Jafta was shown a straight red-card by Pamela Chiwaya for a foul on Thuto Ramafifi.