Banyana Banyana scored a vital away goal as they drew 1-1 with Burkina Faso in the first leg of their Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) qualifier at the Stade Charles Konan Banny on Thursday.
Hildah ‘Breadwinner’ Magaia scored the only goal for Banyana before a lapse in concentration saw the home team snatch a draw.
Full-time!— Banyana_Banyana (@Banyana_Banyana) November 30, 2023
It ends with draw against Burkina Faso. pic.twitter.com/mvGTpz7Rp2
Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis handed veteran defender Janine Van Wyk the captain’s armband as well as her 184th cap, which saw her equal Egyptian Ahmed Hassan’s record as the most-capped player — male or female — on the continent.
Ellis would’ve also welcomed having the core of her starters back available after labouring through their first match of Olympics qualifying.
The pressure to defend their Wafcon crown fired the bellies of the South African ladies with Burkina Faso the first hurdle towards booking a spot in Morocco next year.
Although the visitors tried to exert themselves very early on in the encounter, the hot conditions proved a leveller against their less fancied opponents as sluggish start saw a scrappy duel in the opening 20 minutes.
The usually energetic forward line of Thembi Kgatlana, Magaia and 22-year old Nicole Michael struggled to find their rhythm in attacking areas.
It took until the 38th minute for Banyana to create the first real chance of the match and Kgatlana had the ball in the back of the net but she was ruled to have been offside, the hosts surviving.
Looking to gain more control of the match, Ellis could not wait until half-time and threw on Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Kholosa Biyana in for Van Wyk, which also prompted a change of formation.
That change seemed to almost have an instant impact as Banyana came close once again, this time through midfielder Noxolo Cesane. The University of Western Cape midfielder was denied Faoziatou Quedraogo between the sticks.
The second stanza proved to be far more productive for Banyana as they began the game with renewed energy therefore it came as no surprise when Magaia broke the deadlock in the 56th minute.
The scorer of a brace in last year’s Wafcon once again showed her quality and fired a ferocious shot from long range to break the Burkina Faso resilience.
Six minutes later and Banyana were unlucky not to finish the game as a contest as first half substitute Biyana crashed an effort off the crossbar in the 63rd minute.
The Senior Ladies Stallions were always going to prove a difficult prospect in their own backyard and unsurprisingly grabbed their equaliser in the 68th minute.
In the end the two teams could not be seperated and settle for the stalemate.
This was the last fixture for Banyana of the year, and the team will return to action in February 2024 to continue with their 2024 Olympic qualifiers.