Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana got their 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championship campaign off to a winning start as they claimed a 2-1 victory over Madagascar in their Group A clash at the Wolfson Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay on Wednesday (12 September).
There were also opening day victories for Botswana and Uganda as the competition got off to a thrilling start.
Watch the match on Kwesé Sports’ Youtube Account:
Banyana Banyana hit the front inside seven minutes as Khanya Xesi netted a fine opener after a lively start from both teams.
Nothando Vilakazi doubled the lead for the home side before the 20-minute mark and at that stage it looked as though they were cruising to victory.
But just two minutes later Madagascar were back in the contest as Sarah Rasoanandrasana pulled a goal back from the penalty spot, and a short while later they hit the post from a free-kick too.
The hosts were reduced to 10 players when Thato Letsoso received a second yellow card in the dying minutes, but Madagascar were not able to capitalize on their numerical advantage.
Botswana Lead Group A with 2-0 Win over Malawi
In the opening match of the tournament, Botswana cruised to a 2-0 victory over Malawi in their Group A clash.
The Mares netted early on as skipper Lesego Keleboge found the back of the net to settle their nerves.
Malawi certainly had their chances to equalize, but were not able to find the back of the net and when Lesego Radiakanyo added a second for Botswana 13 minutes from time, the points were safe.
7-Goal Thriller has Uganda edge Eswatini in Group C
Hasifah had the East African guest nation in front inside two minutes with a fine shot, before Resty Nanziri struck the crossbar as the Ugandans dominated the play.
It was 2-0 on the half-hour mark as Alupo Norah doubled the advantage with a well-taken goal and Nanziri added the third just before the break.
But Eswatini were much better after the break as a quick counter-attack saw Tenanile Mgcamphalala reduce the deficit.
That became just a single goal with 13 minutes remaining when Celiwe Nkambule latched onto a long ball and finished.
But Uganda sealed the points four minutes later as Nassuna grabbed her second, though there was still time for a nervy finish as Cebile Shongwe produced a brilliant lob to pull Eswatini back to just a single goal behind.
All the games will be played at the Wolfson Stadium and entrance for fans is FREE
The action continues on Thursday (13 September) when 2017 runners-up Zimbabwe host Namibia in their Group C opener.
Zimbabwe will want to regain the title they won in 2011, but come up against a difficult opponent in the Namibians. That match kicks-off at 10h00.
Focus will then switch to Group B as Central African guest nation Cameroon debut in the competition with a fixture against Mozambique.
Cameroon are the highest ranked team in the tournament at number three on the African continent and like South Africa and Zambia, are preparing for the African Women’s Championship finals in Ghana starting in mid-November. Their match with the Mambas gets under way at 13h00.
The final game of the day will see Zambia tackle Lesotho in another Group B fixture at 15h30.
COSAFA Cup Results at the All Wolfson Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay on Wednesday, 13 September, 2018:
Botswana 2 (Lesego Keleboge, Lesego Radiakanyo) Malawi 0
Eswatini 3 (Tenanile Mgcamphalala, Celiwe Nkambule, Cebile Shongwe) Uganda 4 (Hasifah Nassuna 2, Alupo Norah, Resty Nanziri)
South Africa 2 (Khanya Xesi, Nothando Vilakazi) Madagascar 1 (Sarah Rasoanandrasana)
Photo 1 caption: Banyana Banyana set their 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championship campaign off to a winning start as they claimed a 2-1 victory over Madagascar, in their opening Group A clash at the Wolfson Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay on Wednesday, 12 September, 2018. Image: Screenshot off Kwesé Sports’ Youtube-streamed broadcast
Photo 2 caption: Jermaine Seoposenwe saw the gap and her assist allowed Khanya Xesi to slot home South Africa’s opening goal of the continental tournament. Image: Screenshot off Kwesé Sports’ Youtube-streamed broadcast
Photo 3 caption: Jermaine Seoposenwe was once again instrumental in SA’s half-time lead, her cross setting up Nothando Vilakazi to double Banyana Banyana’s advantage. Image: Screenshot off Kwesé Sports’ Youtube-streamed broadcast
Photo 4 caption: Neither side could break the other’s defence, and the match ended 2-1 to the hosts South Africa, who claim three points to lie second behind Botswana on goal difference, at the top of the tournament’s Group A log. Image: Screenshot off Kwesé Sports’ Youtube-streamed broadcast
Photo 5 caption: Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis was satisfied with her team’s progress, while exercising caution at the start of a long tournament. Image: Screenshot off Kwesé Sports’ Youtube-streamed broadcast
With editing by gsport