17 September 2017 – Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana played to a 1-1 draw with Botswana in their final Group C match in the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
The result was enough to see the South Africans finish top of the group with seven points following two wins and a draw.
Banyana Banyana will face Zambia, who topped Group A, in the first semi-final on Thursday, 21 September 2017.
Hosts Zimbabwe will have to wait 24 hours to learn their fate after being held to a 3-3 all draw by Malawi – a result which left the home team in second place in their group.
Zimbabwe have five points from their three matches and must now wait to see what happens in the Group B clash between Kenya and Swaziland on Monday, 18 September. A Swaziland win will take Swaziland and Kenya through to the semifinals; but a draw or a Kenyan win will see Zimbabwe advance as the best-placed runner-up.
Banyana Banyana had made changes to the squad that defeated Namibia, but the move seemed to backfire as they gave a lackluster performance. In fact it was Botswana who looked more organised and kept the South African defence busy.
After a disappointing first half, Banyana Banyana interim head coach Desiree Ellis introduced strikers Chantelle Esau and Thembi Kgatlana, in place of Nwabisa Kolisi and Koketso Tlailane. The change seemed to bring life back to the South African play but it was Botswana who stunned everyone with a goal in the 83rd minute following a defensive blunder by another substitute, Nothando Vilakazi, who instead of clearing the ball was undecided. Tholakele of Botswana pounced and scored to give a side 1-0 lead.
But their joy was short-lived as Esau connected a ball nicely to grab an equaliser just four minutes later – and that’s how it ended.
It was Esau’s third goal in three matches and she is on par with Kgatlana, who has also scored three goals in the tournament.
This is how Banyana Banyana lined up against Botswana:
Yolula Tsawe (GK), Noko Matlou, Zanele Nhlapo, Bambanani Mbane, Koketso Tlailane (Thembi Kgatlana), Nkoikoi Mabina (Nothando Vilakazi), Refiloe Jane (C), Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Rachel Sebati, Nwabisa Kolisi (Chantelle Esau), Rhoda Mulaudzi
Roxanne Barker (GK), Andile Dlamini (GK), Lebohang Ramalepe, Nothando Vilakazi, Regina Mogolola, Kholosa Biyana, Leandra Smeda, Thembi Kgatlana, Chantelle Esau
Interim Head Coach: Desiree Ellis