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Banyana Banyana go down to hosts in CAF final

Our Banyana Banyana women’s soccer side fell at the final hurdle on Sunday, going down 4-0 to hosts Equatorial Guinea in the final of the 8th CAF African Women Championship, in Malabo.

The Sasol-sponsored team travelled to the Malabo New Stadium in high spirits having outplayed Africa’s No 1 side Nigeria 1-0 in Bata on the mainland on Wednesday, but came unstuck against a determined home side.

The hosts went into the break with a 1-0 lead after Gloria Chinasa took advantage of some poor defensive work to head home from a corner kick in the 43rd minute.ÔÇ¿ Playing in front of 20,000 passionate home fans, Equatorial Guinea doubled their lead in the 66th minute when second half substitute Tiga Costa scored with her first touch of the ball.

The home side were 3-0 up four minutes later, when midfielder and captain Genoveva Anonman made the South Africans pay for some sloppy defending. In the 72nd minute, Chinasa scored her second goal of the title-deciding match, after a fine run on the left before scoring from a tight angle past an outstretched Banyana Banyana goalkeeper Thoko Mndaweni.

Only Banyana Banyana captain and midfielder Amanda Dlamini looked the part on the biggest football stage in African women’s football, with a solid display in her efforts to launch attacks on the home team’s goal area.

While disappointed with the result, the outcome marks the end of a hectic 2012 campaign for the national side, which saw them in camp early in January in preparation for the London Olympics held in July.

The South African team will also be patiently waiting for the latest FIFA and African points rankings to be made public, having travelled to Malabo ranked 56th in the world (up from 61st in July) and fourth in Africa (behind Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and All-Africa Games champions Cameroon).

In the play-off for third and fourth places, Cameroon outplayed Nigeria 1-0.

After the match, Banyana Banyana head coach Joseph Mkhonza said: ÔÇ£Falling at the final hurdle is a major disappointment to all involved with Banyana Banyana, particularly after the fine effort put in to record our national team’s first ever win over Nigeria in the semi-finals last week.ÔÇØ

Mkhonza added: ÔÇ£Safa and Sasol need to be thanked for their continued support of women’s football in SA since we have proved that with the current crop of players, as well as a vast pool of talent identified via the Sasol League Road Shows, Banyana Banyana should be able to qualify for international tournaments such as the World Cup and the Olympics in the future.ÔÇØ


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