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Banyana must beat Cote d’Ivoire to earn World Cup slot
- Updated: October 23, 2014
Banyana Banyana will have to wait until Saturday in their attempt to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Canada.
That’s after they went down 2-1 to the Super Falcons of Nigeria in the semi-final match of the African Women’s Championship in Windhoek on Wednesday afternoon.
The national women’s side needed to reach the final to automatically secure their World Cup slot. They need to finish in the top three of the African tournament to go through. Their last chance is to win the third/fourth place play-off against Cote d’Ivoire on Saturday afternoon, after the latter went down to Cameroon in the second semi-final.
Vera Pauw made four changes to the team that beat Algeria 5-1 on the weekend. Thoko Mndaweni started in goals and Simphiwe Dludlu, Refiloe Jane and Shiwe Nogwanya returned to the starting 11.
But a first half brace by Nigeria’s Asisat Lamina Oshoala set South Africa back.
Refiloe Jane pulled one back for Banyana Banyana midway through the second half, but it was a question of too little, too late.
Banyana Banyana had some great goal scoring opportunities in the opening minutes of the game. First, Leandra Smeda made a cross into the box, but Jane failed to connect with a header after only eight minutes. Moments later, 100-goal hero Portia Modise followed with another great chance, but she could not find the back of the net.
Thoko Mndaweni, who sat on the bench in the group stage matches, made several great saves in the opening minutes of the game, keeping Banyana Banyana in the game.
Mndaweni cleared the ball out of danger in the 10th minute, before parrying a shot out for a corner a minute later and clearing again in the 17th minute in a one-on-one situation.
Banyana Banyana came close to breaking the deadlock in the 20th minute from a set-piece just outside the area, but Modise’s shot went wide.
Nigeria then took the lead after a goal mouth scramble as Oshoala’s shot went past Mndaweni in the 37th minute.
Banyana Banyana almost equalised five minutes later after the Nigerian keeper had spilled the ball. However, her defence saved the day for the West Africans.
Soon after, Nigeria extended their lead when Oshoala completed her brace from a long range shot which went past an diving Mndaweni.
A challenging second half awaited Banyana Banyana as they went into the break trailing 2–0. Jane then pulled one back for South Africa in the 67th minute after an assist from second half substitution, Sanah Mollo.
But any chances for a remarkable comeback were thwarted by the resolute Nigerian defence despite wave after wave of Banyana Banyana attacks.