Banyana Banyana qualified for the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations after a 2-0 (3-1 aggregate) victory over Burkina Faso in a second leg qualifier at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Monday afternoon.
The match also served as veteran defender Janine Van Wyk’s farewell match after she officially bowed out of the sport as the most capped African player (men or women).
Van Wyk was substituted in the 8th minute and walked out to a standing ovation at the Atteridgeville venue, with the player’s parents and members of her club JVW in attendance in the stands.
Banyana had a slow start to the game as coach Desiree Ellis’ charges tried to find a way past the visitors.
Burkina Faso stood their ground in the opening minutes and the two sides were deadlocked at 0-0 at the break with saves from Kaylin Swart keeping the hosts in the match.
The second half was a different ball game with the crowd serving as the 12th man and the pressure finally told after the Banyana Banyana attack won a penalty in the 53rd minute. Linda Motlhalo converted from the spot to give her side the lead.
The goal was a motivation for the home side as they pushed to end the year on a high note. Second-half substitute Nicole Michael finally scored her first-ever Banyana Banyana goal in the 86th minute to ensure that the African Champions will return to Morocco to defend their continental title.
Faith Nokuthula also made her debut for Banyana Banyana as she was introduced in the 90th minute.
Banyana Banyana will return to action in February to continue with 2024 Olympic qualifications.
Written by: Ntsako Mukhari