Zambia………… (1) 1 (Ochumba Oseke Lubandji 19’)
South Africa…. (0) 1 (Sibulele Holweni 75’)
(Zambian won 4-3 on penalties)
The seven times COSAFA Women’s Championship winners Banyana Banyana had their worst run in the 2021 tournament after suffering a defeat to Zambia to finish fourth for the first time ever since the establishment of the competition.
South Africa who were the COSAFA defending champions started the tournament as title favourites after returning from Nigeria where they won the inaugural Aisha Buhari Invitational tournament a few days before the COSAFA Championship.
Coach Desiree Ellis selected a squad of locally based players that was a combination of experience and young talent. Speaking about the back-to-back tournaments the coach emphasized that each tournament was to be used in preparation for the next.
Banyana emerged as group A winners with their eyes set on the title defense but were stopped by 3-1 loss to Malawi when the competition reached the semi-finals.
With the title defense hopes dismantled, Ellis’s side shifted focus to playing for the bronze medal and pride but suffered yet another defeat this time at the hands of The Copper Queens during the penalty shootouts to mark a disastrous fourth spot finish.
Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis who had expressed her desire for a strong finish from her side was disappointed with the results but believes the team should focus on the upcoming AWCON qualifier away to Mozambique.
“I felt we started well but then Zambia came back into the game and we conceded poorly again, I had a lot of things to say during half-time obviously and we had to make an early change with Mamello Makhabane coming off due to an injury.” Said the coach.
“The drive we had going forward was a bit lacking at the time but we got back into the game and had a few good opportunities which we never took again. Then it was the penalties and penalties are always a lottery,” added Ellis.
“We talk about consistency but we were not consistent and I am not happy because we are better than this.”
“Now it’s all guns ahead as we get ready for the qualifier which will be just as important and it won’t be an easy game against Mozambique,” concluded Ellis. @SAFA
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