Banyana Banyana’s battle to secure an Olympic ticket continues

Banyana Banyana shared the spoils with DR Congo after drawing 1-1 in a first leg 2024 CAF Women’s Olympic qualifier at the Stade Des Martyrs on Wednesday afternoon. 

The Congolese started the match as the better side and did most of the attacking, with visiting goalkeeper Kaylin Swart doing well to deny the hosts a goal. The home side’s efforts were eventually rewarded in the 48th minute when Grace Mfwamba slotted home the opening goal of the match. 

The Sasol-sponsored South African senior women’s team was forced to dig deep to find the crucial equalizer, with Thembi Kgatlana making great runs but with little reward. The two sides went into the halftime break with coach Desiree Ellis’ charges trailing 0-1. 

The visitors returned a much-improved side in the second period and it was Kgatlana who finally got the crucial breakthrough, scoring a brilliant strike from a Nicole Michael cross to bring South Africa level in the 48th minute. 

Despite numerous chances from both sides, the second half did not produce any more goals and the match ended on level terms. 

Ellis said after the game she was happy with her side’s performance, especially after she was forced to play a few players out of position. 

“We wanted to make sure that we came away with a positive result away from home, and we had a completely new backline,” she said.

“The were two 21-year-olds, one 20-year-old and one 22-year-old, and they were playing together for the first time. So I am very happy. I thought we could have won this game because we had a couple of chances, especially later in the match. But I am happy with the result.”

Banyana Banyana have a slight advantage after scoring the away goal, but the Congolese will be no pushovers when the two sides meet again in the second leg at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Monday, 30 October 2023. 

Goals scored:

DR Congo …….1(1) (Mfwamba 40’)

South Africa……0(1) (Kgatlana 48’)