Banyana beat Tanzania to take one step closer to Paris Olympic dream

Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis

FILE - Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis. Photo: Nigel Keene/ProSportsImages/DPPI via AFP

Published Feb 23, 2024


Banyana Banyana produced a workmanlike performance to record an emphatic 3-0 win over Tanzania's Twiga Stars in Friday's Olympic third round first leg qualifier in Dar es Salaam after leading 1-0 at half time.

The second leg will be played on Tuesday at the Mbombela Stadium, and the South African national women's team will run out with a massive 3-0 advantage. In order to halt Banyana Banyana's advance to the final round of the qualifying, Tanzania would have to score four goals and render Banyana Banyana scoreless on Tuesday.

The winner of the South Africa — Tanzania tie will play the winner of the Cameroon versus Nigeria tie for a ticket to the Paris Olympics.

The South African women have not qualified for the Olympic games since Rio in 2016. They failed to make the cut for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. However, since then Banyana Banyana have been on an upward curve. They won the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations and in 2022 reached the round of 16 at the FIFA Women's World Cup.

Now great things are expected of the side which is ranked No. 2 in Africa. And after playing their first game for 2024 yesterday, Banyana Banyana's prospects look bright as they play their qualifying round.

Banyana Banyana, with a world ranking of 54, started impressively against Tanzania (152), after imposing themselves on the match from the opening whistle. The threat became real when Tanzania's defence blocked Linda Motlhalo's shot and then moments later they held out against a corner.

Hilda Magaia, the speedy Banyana Banyana winger, rounded the opposition defence out on the left flank before crossing into the goalmouth. Tanzania's central defence failed to deal with the threat and striker Jermaine Seoposenwe, well up with play, deftly slipped the ball into the net for a 10th-minute goal.

Although Banyana Banyana enjoyed more scoring opportunities they returned to the change rooms at half time with a slender 1-0 lead.

After Banyana Banyana braved Tanzania's sound start to the second half, they dominated and scored further goals by captain Thembi Kgatlana and Magaia.

The South Africans will fly out on Saturday from Tanzania, ahead of Tuesday's return fixture at the Mbombela Stadium.

IOL Sport