South Africa……1(3) (Orsi 32’ (OG) , Magaia 67’, Kgatlana 90+2)

Italy………………1(2) (Caruso 11’, 74)

02 August 2023 – President Cyril Ramaphosa sent his congratulations as the South African senior women’s team made history and qualified for the Round of 16 in a FIFA tournament for the first time ever on Wednesday (2 August 2023).

Coach Desiree Ellis’ charges beat Italy 3-2 at the Wellington Regional Stadium to send President Ramaphosa and the whole continent into celebration on a glorious night for South African football. The Sasol-sponsored side started on the back-foot with Italy getting a penalty in the 11th minute, and Caruso Arianna made no mistake and converted from the spot. 

The African champions, who are known as a team that creates scoring opportunities, were again pilling on the pressure and creating back-to-back chances, but were unlucky with the delivery of the final product. 

The team was eventually handed a lifeline in the 32nd minute when Orsi Benedetta slotted past her own goalkeeper to bring South Africa level. The two teams went to the half-time break deadlocked at 1-1. 

The second half started with coach Ellis introducing Nomvula Kgoale for Robyn Moodaly  as the team tried to boost their midfield and get the winner that was required to get the side out of the group stages. 

One of the chances finally materialized into a goal after Thembi Kgatlana’s run found Hildah Magaia who made no mistake as she slotted the ball past the Italy goalkeeper in the 67th minute, and the South Africans were in the lead.

The celebrations were cut short, however, when Italy got their equalizer in the 74th minute to level the highly contested encounter, with Arianna getting her brace. 

It came down to who wanted it more, with the African champions unshaken as they went in search of the priceless winner. It was collective team effort as Banyana Banyana goalkeeper Kaylin Swart stood her ground in the back and denied the Italian clear scoring opportunities on a number of occasions. 

The breakthrough moment finally came for Kgatlana, who was the captain for the day, as she scored a stunner in the 90th (+2) minute and it was the goal that sealed the victory for Ellis’ gallant team. The goal  booked a spot for Banyana Banyana in the Round of 16 and history beckoned for the team as they became the first South African side to make it out of the group stages of a FIFA World Cup tournament. 

The game also saw youngster Wendy Shongwe come in to make her Banyana Banyana debut as she replaced Hildah Magaia. 

The team will travel to Australia Sydney on Thursday, 03 August 2023 where they will prepare to take on the Netherlands on 6 August 2023 at the Allianz Stadium.

Banyana Banyana continues to receive congratulatory messages from South Africa and across the world after their historic feat.