The South African Women’s U-17 national team, Bantwana, won silver in the inaugural COSAFA U-17 Women’s Championships in Mauritius on Sunday in a match won by Uganda.
The match of two very different halves saw South Africa dominate the first 30 minutes of the match, as they played with the wind to their advantage but failed to penetrate the solid back four of Uganda, who eventually won the match 2-1.
Bantwana goalkeeper Karabo Mohale was the saving grace for South Africa in the last 15 minutes of the first half, when she made at least six crucial saves to go into the half with the goalless draw.
Uganda came out guns blazing in the second half as they attacked from the first whistle and managed to score the opening goal in the 56th minute when Fauzia Najemba benefitted from an error by the South African defence. The Bantwana lone striker Oyisa Marhazi, who worked tirelessly in the match, was replaced by Tiffany Kortjie in the 58th minute. Kortjie got the equalizer in the 75th minute from a beautiful cross by Nabeelah Galant. Uganda continued to dominate the midfield and had South Africa on the back foot for the last 15 minutes of the match.
Juliet Nalukeng, who won top goal scorer of the tournament, got the win for Uganda in the 87th minute when she pounced on a loose ball after another error from the South African defence.
Bantwana coach Simphiwe Dludlu congratulated the Ugandan team for the win. “They gave us a good match which had many different stages. I cannot have asked for more from the players today. They played their hearts out and I am proud of them for the performance they displayed. The second half was rather tough for us. Uganda really changed the game and managed to get the opening goal. We managed to respond to that but I think their maturity really showed in the later stages of the game and we could not keep up,” said Dludlu.