By Mark Etheridge
in Luanda, Angola
South Africa wrapped up yet another successful AUSC Region 5 Games here on Saturday with a resounding 5-0 victory in the final of the women’s football code.
And swimming, the only other code in action for Team South Africa on the final day of this Under-20 competition, also mucked in with another bucketful of medals.
All that’s left for the team now is Sunday’s closing ceremony in this, the seventh edition of these biennial Games.
The football was played at the 4 de November Stadium, a modern and impressive stadium that dwarfed the small crowd that pitched for the final.
Captain Chamelle Wiltshire couldn’t have wished for a better start to the final with her team netting two goals in the opening four minutes.
After two minutes it was Karabo Dlamini who latched onto a through ball from the right and calmly slotted past Namibian goalkeeper Melissa Matheus.
Two minutes later it was pretty much a case of ‘night, night Namibia’ as Antonio Maponya broke away down the left and Linda Motlhalo slotted home.
The South Africans could afford to enjoy themselves with that two-goal cushion and after 36 minutes the game was all but over as first Maponya hit the bar when it seemed almost impossible to miss the net and Dlamini tapped home into an empty net.
That saw the half-time score at 3-0 and it didn’t get any easier for the poor Namibians when, just three minutes into the half the Swaziland referee pointed to the penalty spot after Motlhalo’s cross was handled by a Namibian defender.
Up stepped Dlamini and after a measured run-up, she hit it hard and true past the ‘keeper’s right hand.
Coach Sheryl Botes’ girls weren’t done yet though and put a fifth and final nail into the Namibian coffin as Motlhalo cut smartly in from the right hand flank in the 19th minute and shot through the keeper’s legs.
Botes then rang the changes with Maponya making way for Khanya Xesi and goal minder Mapaseka Mpuru, who barely had a shot to save all night, was subbed for Betty Malella.
The gold-medal victory meant that the South Africans kept a clean sheet for the entire Games as they scored 21 goals without reply.
Swimming, the traditional go-to code for these Games in sheer medal tally, once again came to the party at the Alvalade Pool in the city centre.
Going into the final day of competition they had already amassed 44 medals. Add a last-day count of 16 and it was a super 60 for Team SA.
On the day it was eight gold, four silver and four bronze. Over the four days of competition the big squad of swimmers can hold their heads high with 30 gold, 31 silver and nine bronze.
And if there was one surname on everyone’s lips it was that of Van Niekerk. Not related, Nathania was the most successful female swimmer for Team SA with 13 medals and Kyle was best male with 10 of his own.
Picture of Antonia Maponya courtesy of Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images