The Banyana Banyana national women’s football side claimed a thrilling 2-1 victory over Cameroon in the final of the 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championship in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
Refiloe Jane proved the hero with both goals at the Wolfson Stadium.
Jane bagged a goal in each half, either side of a strike by Genevieve Ngo Mbeleck, as Banyana Banyana retained the title they won in Zimbabwe last year.
It’s their fifth win in six tournaments and an excellent warm-up for the African Women’s Championship in Ghana in November.
South Africa started on the front foot and might have had two goals early on, but forward Jermaine Seoposenwe was unable to convert.
She first missed with a header and then shot tamely into the arms of Cameroon goalkeeper Annette Ngo Ndom as both opportunities went begging.
Cameroon had chances of their own though, and found Abena Ninon through on goal from a tight angle but she shot wildly over the bar.
The home side took the lead in emphatic fashion just before half-time as the ball fell to Jane 25 yards from goal and her shot arrowed into the bottom corner of the net, leaving Ngo Ndom with no chance.
South Africa led 1-0 at the break, but were almost made to pay for some hesitant defending 10 minutes into the second period when fullback Nothando Vilakazi lost possession in the box, but with two bites of the cherry, Cameroon midfielder Raissa Feudjio could only shoot straight at home goalkeeper Kaylin Swart.
Swart was then forced into an excellent save from Madeleine Ngono Mani’s header from a free kick, acrobatically beating the ball over her bar.
However, Cameroon did find their equaliser on 66 minutes as Ngo Mbeleck showed some neat footwork in the box before placing the ball into the corner of South Africa’s net.
South Africa captain Janine van Wyk forced a save from Ngo Ndom with a free kick from 30 yards, the keeper needing two attempts to make the stop.
Thembi Kgatlana had an excellent chance to score the winner from eight yards, but her shot was beaten away by Ngo Ndom.
But Banyana Banyana went on to grab the victory right at the death as Jane showed excellent pace to outsprint the Cameroon defence and then provide a composed left-footed finish low past a stranded Ngo Ndom.
South Africa scored 13 goals in the tournament and conceded just two – against Madagascar (group stages) and Cameroon (final).
Banyana had six goal-scorers: Linda Motlhalo scored four, Khanya Xesi three, Seoposenwe and Jane two each, while Kgaelebane Mohlakoane with Vilakazi chipping in with one each.
Only Jane and defender Lebohang Ramelepe played every minute of the whole tournament.
PHOTO: The victorious Banyana Banyana side celebrate their moment, by Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix