Banyana one hurdle away from completing Paris Olympics journey

Banyana Banyana are now two games away from qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games after beating Tanzania 1-0 in a second-leg Third Round CAF Women’s Olympic qualifier at the Mbombela stadium in Mpumalanga on Tuesday, February 28.

The South African senior women’s team came into the tie with a strong aggregate score after beating the Tanzanians 3-0 away from home in the first leg in Dar es Salaam on Friday. But the Sasol-sponsored team knew that the job was not completed and worked hard to ensure that they kept the visitors at bay in Mbombela. 

It was a rusty start for the hosts, but they visibly grew in confidence as the game progressed, with the vociferous crowd at Mbombela Stadium cheering them on. Despite a few chances created in the opening period, the two sides could not find a breakthrough, and the match was still goalless at the halftime break. 

The elusive goal that the crowd had been waiting for finally came in the 57th minute when a Kholosa Biyana free kick found Thembi Kgatlana, who calmly slotted home the opener to give the Tanzanians a big mountain to climb.

The visitors displayed a great fighting spirit and tested Banyana Banyana goalkeeper Kaylin Swart a few times, but none of their chances materialised into the equaliser they so desperately sought. 

Coach Desiree Ellis’ charges created numerous chances, but despite their efforts, they could not find the second goal that the fans in the stands were calling out for.

The next hurdle for Banyana Banyana will be Nigeria’s Super Falcons in a two-legged match to be played between April 1 and 9.. The winner will be one of the two African nations to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics. 

The second-leg clash against Tanzania also served as a special tribute to Jermaine Seoposenwe, who became the 10th Banyana Banyana player to win 100 international caps.

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