BY: Michelle Liew
South Africa won their first Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) title after defeating hosts Morocco in last night’s final.
Hildah Magaia scored twice from close range just eight minutes apart in the second half in Rabat before Rosella Ayane closed the gap in the 80th minute.
Previously, South Africa finished the last five editions as runners-up, including the last edition in 2018 but this time they found a way to lift the trophy in front of 52,000 spectators.
Morocco, who are making their first appearance in the finals of the tournament, will join South Africa in next year’s Women’s World Cup finals, alongside two other semi-finalists, namely Nigeria and Zambia.
South Africa had lost their four previous finals in 2000, 2008, 2012 and 2018.
“It was a humbling experience, and an emotional one, when you look at the journey that we have travelled as Banyana Banyana,” captain Refiloe Jane said as quoted from BBC Sport.
“To finally get to this point meant a lot for everyone. When the final whistle went out, I was crying. It was the most humbling and emotional experience.
“I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much after a football match – that goes to show our journey, everything that we had to go through and things have finally come together.”
For Banyana Banyana coach Desire Ellis, the victory was large satisfying as she was unable to win the trophy as a player 22 years ago.
“It feels amazing. I’m an African champion now – and no one can take that away from us.“