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Defeat means brave Basetsana miss out on World Cup
- Updated: November 9, 2015
A heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Nigeria on Sunday saw the South African Under-20 women’s football side missing out on a place in the 2016 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea.
The second leg match was played at the Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa and a goal early in the first half by Veronica Chinwendu Ihezuo was enough to hand the Super Falconets a berth in the World Cup.
Despite a crucial away goal in Abuja two weeks ago, South Africa was always playing catch up, as they had to turn around the 2-1 result from the first leg.
But it was the visitors who started strongly, putting the home side under pressure.
After Nigeria’s goal, Basetsana came back strongly into the match and were unfortunate not to equalise on the half hour mark – striker Linda Motlhalo broke free but Sandra Chiichii was equal to the task in the Nigeria goal.
In the second half South Africa piled on the pressure and saw a goal-bound shot stopped on the line in the 49th minute.
Two minutes later the Falconets came very close to increasing their lead but Uchenna Grace Kanu shot wide with only goalkeeper Mapaseka Mpuru to beat.
Thembi Kgatlana, who missed the first leg, came face to face with Chiichii but rushed her shot in the 55th minute, which could have given the hosts a glimmer of hope.
With the clock ticking away, South Africa pushed forward but still no goal came.
The last clear chance for Basetsana was in the 75th minute when Kgatlana shot straight into Chiichii’s arms.
No matter how hard the home side tried, Nigeria stood firm and gave nothing away.
In the end, it was tears for Basetsana players, as they knew how close they were to clinching a spot in their first ever World Cup tournament.
The final score was 1-0, meaning the Falconets won 3-1 on aggregate.