After five lost finals, the crown. South Africa won its first Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) for women on Saturday 23 July in Rabat by beating Morocco in the final 2-1, thanks to a double from its striker Hildah Magaia. Summary of the match and reactions.
The South African striker gave Banyana Banyana their first CAN after five lost finals.
“They wanted to win this cup so badly and now they have,” said South African coach Desiree Ellis, who praised the “character of the team”.
Hildah Magaia first slotted home a cross in the 63rd minute and then did it again eight minutes later when she chipped the ball over Moroccan goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi.
Tottenham’s Rosella Ayane pulled one back for the Atlas Lionesses in the 80th minute. But too late.
Despite the Moroccans’ pressure, the solid South African defence held firm until the end of the nine minutes of extra time.
The two teams had gone into the break with a score of 0-0 after a balanced first half with no spark, apart from the burning of smoke bombs that gave off a thick smoke over the pitch.
The only chance came in the 36th minute when Hildah Magaia threatened the Er-Rmichi goalkeeper with a back-heel.
In the second half, the well-organised South Africans looked fresher than their blunted rivals.
“We would have liked to win this CAN but we were tired,” admitted Lionesses coach Reynald Pedros after the match.