Banyana Banyana down Nigeria in 2018 Women’s AFCON opener
The clash took place on Sunday, 18 November 2018 at the Cape Coast Stadium in Ghana.
This was Banyana Banyana’s first victory over the Super Falcons, who are the defending champions in the tournament, since 2012 in the semifinals of the same competition – with captain Janine van Wyk scoring the winner on the day.
The story turned out differently this time around for Desiree Ellis’ charges.
She made three changes to the squad that lost to Ghana in an international friendly match a week earlier.
Refiloe Jane, Jermaine Seoposenwe and Mamello Makhabane got the nod ahead of Melinda Kgadiete, Kgaelebane Mohlakoana and Kgatlana.
The match started at a slow pace with both teams trying to get to know each other better.
But it was Nigeria who first got out of the blocks as they piled pressure on Banyana Banyana, who stood firm.
The South Africans survived a real scare when Asisat Oshoala found herself unmarked in the Banyana Banyana box after the defence had been split wide open, but she inexplicably shot wide of goals.
The defending champions looked to tire at the start of the second stanza and this gave the 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championship winners a boost.
Seoposenwe, who was working tirelessly upfront, could not control the ball with the goal begging and shot wide.
Enter Kgatlana in the 57thminute to replace Busisiwe Ndimeni.
With her blistering pace, she ran at the Nigerian defence and they could not contain her – in one instance she outpaced them but only to hit the side netting.
But she was not to be denied two minutes from full time when she ran onto a ball from Seoposenwe and with a thunderous volley, gave South Africa the lead.
This was her 11th goal in 41 matches for her country – she is making her third AFCON tournament appearance in a row.
Banyana Banyana held on as five minutes were added at the end of the regulation 90 minutes.
And that is how it ended – 1-0.
It was a great start for Banyana Banyana to the tournament. They next face Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday, 21 November at the same venue, while Nigeria will go toe to toe with Zambia in the other Group B match.