A brilliant strike by substitute Chrestina Thembi Kgatlana five minutes from time handed South Africa a dream start in the Women African Cup of Nations (AWCON) tournament as they beat holders Nigeria 1-0 in their group B opener on Sunday in Cape Coast.
Kgatlana struck late into the game to give the South Africans a shocking win over their perennial rivals.
Banyana Banyana gave a good account of themselves right from the start of the game, making early incursions in the game. They came very close for the opener in the 27th minute but Refiloe Jane’s effort was weak to beat goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi.
Nigeria’s biggest opportunity came their way in the 33rd minute when Desire Oparanozie missed a sitter following a brilliant play by Asisat Oshoala. Oparanozie surprisingly blasted wide with only the South African goalie to beat after being put through by Oshoala.
South Africa came very close again seven minutes into the second half as Jermaine Seoposenwe’s attempt missed the goal by a whisker. Chrestina Kgatlana finally broke the game’s duck in the 85th minute to decide the crunchy encounter.
Total Woman of the Match: Chrestina Kgatlana (South Africa)
THOMAS DENNERBY (HEAD COACH, NIGERIA)
I am very disappointed that we lost the game. It would have been fair if the game had ended in a draw. We had a bit more of the possession and South Africa are really good on counter attacks; we were aware and had analysed before the game so we knew what was coming. I think everybody will agree that we should have scored at least once in the first half and we missed that chance.
DESIREE ELLIS (HEAD COACH, SOUTH AFRICA)
We played against a very good side today and one moment of loss of concentration decided the game. I said at pre-match press conference that we needed to be phenomenal and execute the plan.
Even though they had a lot of possession, they didn’t really fight us except only one moment. It took us a moment of brilliance to decide the match.
We planned very well and executed it. We gave it all out there and we said the first game of the tournament is most important and it is even bigger playing Nigeria.
The victory is not only for us but for the people back home. – CAFonline.