The South African women’s national team have failed to write their own history and book a place at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup after they lost 1–0 to Ivory Coast on Saturday afternoon in the 3rd/4th place playoffs of the African Women’s Championship. Banyana Banyana failed to join Nigeria and Cameroon to be the third team to represent Africa in Canada next year. A late goal by Guehai Ida, shattered the South African ladies’ hopes of competing at the world event.
Vera Pauw started with the team that beat Algeria 5–1 in the last group match, and Thoko Mndaweni starting in goals ahead of Roxanne Barker. The South Africans knew the significance of the match as they took-off on attack mode, putting Ivory Coast under pressure. South Africa enjoyed most of the possession in the opening stanza.
Sanah Mollo’s shot inside the box went over the cross-bar before Amanda Dlamini forced the Ivorian keeper to parry her long range shot out for a corner in the opening five minutes of the game. Nompumelelo Nyandeni also came close to opening the scoring in the 12th minute, but her shot from outside the box went over the cross-bar. Banyana kept the West Africans in their own half for most part of the first half, with Makhabane, Mollo, Ramalepe and Dlamini all coming very close to getting goals in the opening 30 minutes.
Their chances went just inches wide-off and over the poles. The Ivorians looked threatening on one occasion only, but Mndaweni made a comfortable save from a set piece shot taken by Akoffou Rita a couple of yards outside the box. Vera Pauw’s side retaliated two minutes later, but Mollo’s header in front of goals went wide-off, while Van Wyk forced the Ivorian keeper to parry her on-target free kick out for a corner in the dying minutes of the half.
Ivory Coast second half substitution N’guessan Ange seemed to be a hand full for Banyana Banyana’s defence, keeping them busy in the opening minutes of the second half, forcing them to clear the ball out of danger in the 53rd minute. Mndaweni made great saves, denying Ivory Coast any chance of opening the scoring. South Africa continued with the bid to get the goal.
Refiloe Jane’s shot from outside the box went over the cross bar in the 78th minute. It was the proverbial game of two halves as Ivory Coast dominated most of the second half and Mndaweni was kept the busier of the two keepers. The West African team scored the only goal of the match with six minutes of play remaining.
Ida took a shot from close range after the ball bounced in the box from a corner kick. Banyana Banyana pushed for an equaliser with Portia Modise and Noko Matlou coming close in the dying minutes. Banyana Banyana return to South Africa on Monday, 27 October.