South Africa….. (1)2 (Sibulele Holweni 45’, 80’)
Malawi………….. (1)3 (Fazila Chembekezo 37’, Sabinah Thom 73’, 85)
7 October 2021 – For the first time since the establishment of the COSAFA Women’s Championship, Banyana Banyana will not be part of the final decider after going down 2-3 against Malawi on Thursday afternoon at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Going into the semi-final Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis strongly emphasized the importance of not making mistakes as there was no room for errors or second chances in the knockout stages.
From the first whistle Malawi piled up pressure on the South Africans and got their breakthrough goal in the 37th minute, however their joy was short lived as Sibulele Holweni scored a cracker on the verge of half-time to bring Banyana Banyana back in the game and the two sides went to the break deadlocked at 1-1.
In the second half the contest intensified as both teams searched for a goal and Banyana Banyana found themselves in the back foot yet again when Sabinah Thom fired The Scorchers (as known by fans) back in the lead in the 73rd minute.
Desiree Ellis’s charges pushed numbers forward and were rewarded with a penalty when Melinda Kgadiete was brought down in the box and Sibulele Holweni stepped up to convert from the spot to bring South Africa in the game once again.
A last minute defensive error from South Africa resulted in another goal for Malawi as Sabinah Thom fired past Kaylin Swart to complete her brace and seal a victory for Malawi.
A disappointed Desiree Ellis believes the defence was where it went wrong for her side.
“Unfortunately our biggest part of the game is not conceding but defensively we were poor today,” Desiree Ellis.
“We got back into the game and we conceded with a couple of defensive errors at the back. We had opportunities to clear the ball and we did not and we got punished for that.”
“We did not have a great first half and we made a couple of tactical changes and we were better second half but the way we conceded was unlike us.”
“Normally we talk about managing the game and unfortunately we did not manage the game well and today Malawi was clinical in front of goal,” added Ellis.
“We had a lot of opportunities to score and I always say, if we don’t concede, we will create and we will win but unfortunately today we conceded more than what we scored and I am disappointed with the result but we have to go back and look at ourselves and what we could have done better ,” concluded Ellis.
Banyana Banyana will take on Zambia in a curtain-raiser on Saturday, 9 October for the bronze medal accolade, (Kickoff 12h00pm).