Banyana narrowly go down to Nigeria in African women's Afcon
Banyana Banyana were denied passage to the final of the African Women's Nations Cup after a 1-0 semi final defeat to defending champions Nigeria on Tuesday evening.
The Super Falcons of Nigeria will now face tournament hosts Cameroon in the final on Saturday.
Cameroon beat Ghana by the same scoreline in the earlier semi final played at the Stade Limbe Omnisport to book a final place against the nine-time champions.
It is the third time that Nigeria have denied Banyana passage to the final. They thrashed Banyana 5-0 in the semifinal of the 2002 edition and also emerged victorious in the last four match in the 2014 tournament in Namibia.
Banyana only defeated the West Africans once in the semis - at the 2012 tournament in Equatorial Guinea.
Banyana looked enterprising in the opening exchanges of the match as they managed to play balls in behind the physically-imposing Super Falcon's defence.
Andisiwe Mgcoyi and her fellow striker Slindile Ngubane found each other in the final third but were unable to trouble goalkeeper Alaba Jonathan in the Nigerian goal.
The Super Falcons soon got their grove and should have opened the scoring had it not been for the brilliance of Banyana keeper Andile Dlamini, who produced a double save midway through the first half to deny the Nigerians.
Leandra Smeda put the ball in the back of the net in the 35th minute but her goal was rightly disallowed as she was in an offside position. It was the only real chance Banyana had to take the lead in the first half.
Nigerian started the second half like a house on fire and looked like scoring everytime they made it into their opposition's box.
The Super Falcons deservedly went in front in the 54th minute when a Oparanazi thunderbolt free kick from the edge of the box took a vicious deflection, giving keeper Dlamini no chance at all.
The South African rallied a late comeback into the match but in the end were let down by their indecisiveness in front of goal coupled with a few brilliant saves from the Negirian keeper.
Banyana stormed into the semi finals of this tournament after walloping the Pharoahs of Egypt 5-0 in their last Group A match on Friday.
- TMG Digital