A brace from Hildah Magaia earned Banyana Banyana their first ever WAFCON title as they downed Morocco 2-1 in the final in front of a packed crowd at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat on Saturday.
The first goal came just after the hour mark as the in-form Jermaine Seoposenwe found Magaia with a pass before she calmly slotted home. After going down, the home side had no choice but to commit more players up front and it backfired. Their defence opened up as Banyana got a second less than ten minutes later as Magaia calmly slotted home again with a dinked shot.
Despite being 2-0 down, Morocco did not concede defeat. They deservedly pulled one back in the 80th minute through Rosella Ayane who was picked out by Fatima Tagnaout.
After pulling one back, Morocco tried to score a second, inspired by their crowd but South Africa managed to weather the storm.
Neither team dominated in the first half with Morocco having slightly more possession. Realizing that there would be little room for error in this game, Banyana coach Desiree Ellis opted to start with a 4-4-2 formation and handed a start to Nomvula Kgoale in order to allow her team to try and maximize free-kick opportunities.
The South Africans had their best chance of the first half in the 35th minute. Magaia was through on goal after being found by Jermaine Seoposenwe. Moroccan goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi made a great save to deny Magaia before Nesryn El Chad averted the danger for the Atlas Lions.
The Atlas Lions had their only opportunity in the first half in the 40th minute as a pull back from Tagnaout found Ayane who ended up pulling her shot wide.
Banyana had two good free-kick opportunities in the first half. The first was taken for Kgoale who went directly for goal. Her effort was high and floated comfortably over the crossbar. The second was taken by Magaia whose effort was also off target.
With the first half having virtually been a game of chess, neither side unsurprisingly made any changes heading into the second half. The first change of the game came ten minutes into the second half as Morocco withdrew Imane Saoud and introduced Samya Hassani. Less than five minutes later, Morocco had to make a second change as Zineb Redouani picked up a painful knock and was replaced by Ghizlane Chhiri.
In an unexpected decision which would have left South African fans irritated, nine minutes of second half stoppage time were added.
Banyana appeared nervous in the dying stages of the game as Morocco committed virtually their whole team up front while Banyana did the same, defending in high numbers.
Ellis’ side did what they needed to do and became deserved champions of Africa.