South Africa (0)0

Nigeria ……….(0)0

(Nigeria advanced on 1-0 aggregate)

10 April 2024Banyana Banyana fell short of qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games after a goalless draw with Nigeria at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria on Tuesday night saw the West Africans win the two-legged tie 1-0 on aggregate.

The South African senior womens team came into this match trailing 0-1 after defeat in the first leg in Abuja, Nigeria, last week and coach Desiree Ellis team needed to find a way past the stubborn visitors.

But the Sasol-sponsored side struggled to push forward in the first half and find the elusive goal that would have brought them back into the game. The home side went into halftime with no shots on target with Nigeria doing well to contain them.

The two sides went into the break deadlocked at 0-0 with the Super Falcons leading 1-0 on aggregate.

The second half saw an improvement in Banyana Banyanas performance as they pushed numbers forward and made a few substitutions, with Sinoxolo Cesane and Hildah Magaia coming on for Nomvula Kgoale and Noxolo Cesane.

But despite the improved performance, the home team could not get that breakthrough goal against a strong Nigeria defence and good goalkeeping from Nnnadozie Chamaka.

As the fulltime whistle blew, it was heartache for South Africa as Nigeria advanced as one of the two African representatives at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

It was a bittersweet moment for Lebohang Ramalepe who won her 100th cap during the match. A disappointed Ellis apologised to the player for not marking the milestone with a victory.

The coach further expressed her disappointment with the outcome of the game.

We knew that coming into this game we needed to score. We also knew that we needed to score as early as possible because the longer the game went on, we became desperate. We did not start well, we changed the formation slightly because we needed to score,said Ellis.

“We did not go forward as much as we wanted to in the first half, made a couple of changes in the second half and threw the kitchen sink at them. Unfortunately that elusive goal did not go in and for that we are very disappointed,added Ellis.