Banyana Banyana successfully defended their COSAFA Cup title after defeating Botswana 2-1 in the final at Nelson Mandela Bay stadium after finishing top of Group A without conceding a goal. They then beat Malawi in the semi-finals.
Sibulele Holwene scored her eight goal of the tournament as she slotted home in the opening minute of the final. Banyana did not stop putting pressure but Botswana goalkeeper Maitumelo Bosija did well to deny them until Gabriela Salgado found a breakthrough in the 65th to make it 2-0.
Although Botswana pulled one back on the 85th minute through Mokgabo Thanda, Banyana Banyana held on for a victory which gave them a fourth successive title.
In her squad selection coach Desiree Ellis opted to combine young talent with a bit of experience and introduced a different team to the tournament from what South Africans were expecting.
Speaking after her team’s triumph, Ellis expressed her joy as she looked back to the first day she selected her squad dominated by youngsters and how they have worked hard to make it to the final and walk away victorious.
Title defended ✅
It's staying home 😊🇿🇦💚💛
— Banyana_Banyana (@Banyana_Banyana) November 14, 2020
‘It’s been 25 days and today was the day we had been working towards. We challenged the players consistently about raising their hands and making their mark in this tournament and I think the analysis by our analyst was spot throughout this tournament. We were in control of the game from the start and got an early goal though we got a bit sloppy later on and allowed them back in the game,’ said Ellis.
‘During the cooling break and halftime we had to remind our players that the game was not over and also reminded them about the game plan’.
This is a young team, they will learn and grow. When the final whistle went, we were just proud of this group of players,’ concluded Ellis.
Sibulele Holweni finished as the top goalscorer while Hildah Magaia was awarded the Player of the Tournament accolade.
Banyana Banyana had failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics after losing their final match to Botswana on penalties in September 2019, so this was sweet revenge.