16 July 2023 – The COSAFA Bafana Bafana side beat the Flames of Malawi 5-3 on penalties to finish with a bronze medal at the regional tournament in Durban on Sunday (16 July 2023).
Malawi had a better first half, putting South Africa’s makeshift defense under a lot of pressure. Coach Morena Ramoreboli started with two teenagers, Puso Dithejane at wing back and Siyabonga Gumede at right centre-back, and the two players did not disappoint under a lot pressure.
Ramoreboli made several changes at half time, resting both teenagers and striker Victor Letsoalo, introducing captain Lyle Lakay, Iqraam Reyners and Thembela Sikhakhane. The South Africans took control of the match in the second half and were unfortunate when Reyners’ effort hit the upright.
Bafana continued to rotate the ball in midfield but could not penetrate the disciplined Malawi defense. It ended 0-0 during regulation time and it was down to penalties, with both goalkeepers taking the spotlight. With Malawi missing their fourth penalty, which could have kept them in the shootout, Rowan Human converted South Africa’s fifth and final penalty to give the hosts the bronze medal.
“If you saw in the second half, we were playing a different system, more of your 4-2-2-2. We wanted to try and cover the central zone, playing into those half spaces. It’s just unfortunate that with all the opportunities in the second half, we could not just get a goal,” said Ramoreboli after the game.