24 September 2017 – Banyana Banyana interim head coach Desiree Ellis has told her players to give it one last push when they take on Zimbabwe in the final of the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship this afternoon (Sunday, 24 September 2017) at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Kickoff is at 15h00.

Ellis has made two changes and brought on goalkeeper Andile Dlamini for Roxanne Barker, while Rhoda Mulaudzi, who scored the equaliser against Zambia, takes the place of Koketso Tlailane.

The defence remains the same, with Lebohang Ramalepe at right back and Nothando Vilakazi at left back, while Noko Matlou will partner with Bambanani Mbane in the heart of defence.

All of Refiloe Jane (c), Kholosa Biyana, Leandra Smeda and Thembi Kgatlana have kept their places in midfield. Chantelle Esau will operate with Mulaudzi upfront.

The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana qualified for the final after coming back from 3-0 down, to draw the match 3-3 and won 5-3 on penalties.

“It is there for the taking again, this is the final push and just know that nobody remembers second place. The semi-final clash against Zambia was a clear indication that it’s never over until it’s over, but this time around we have to start with the match and not wait until it is too late – don’t hold anything back,” said Ellis to her players.

“We haven’t come this far to leave it all behind. Not getting the desired result will be a case of why did we fight so much to be in the final, only to come second best. So let’s go all the way because this is just one game of 90 minutes. I have been saying you are a special group so go out there and show it. We believe in you, now you have to believe in yourself to get over this hurdle. It’s not going to be easy, Zimbabwe is a tough team and will have their fans rallying behind them, but we can still do it. Madiba once said ‘it seems impossible until it’s done.’ Good luck to all of us.”

Both Zimbabwe and South Africa qualified for last year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The two countries also contested the final of the 2011 COSAFA Women’s Championship, which Zimbabwe won 1-0.

South Africa has won the competition three times – 2002, 2006, and 2008.

In the event of a draw at the end of the regulation time 90 minutes, a penalty shootout will ensue to determine the winner.

** Zambia clinched third place when they defeated Kenya 4-2 on penalties after the match ended in a 1-1 draw at Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday, 23 September. This was Zambia’s third bronze medal following previous third-place finishes in 2002 and 2006.

Banyana Banyana 11 vs Zimbabwe

Andile Dlamini (GK), Lebohang Ramalepe, Nothando Vilakazi, Bambanani Mbane, Noko Matlou, Kholosa Biyana, Refiloe Jane (c), Leandra Smeda, Thembi Kgatlana, Rhoda Mulaudzi, Chantelle Esau

Subs:

Roxanne Barker (GK), Yolula Tsawe (GK), Regina Mogolola, Zanele Nhlapho, Koketso Tlailane, Nwabisa Kolisi, Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Nkoikoi Mabina, Rachel Sebati

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