South Africa claimed a thrilling 2-1 victory over Central African guest nation Cameroon in the final of the 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championship as Refiloe Jane proved the hero with both goals at the Wolfson Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay on Saturday.
Jane bagged a goal in each half, either side of a strike by Genevieve Ngo Mbeleck, as Banyana Banyana retained the title they won in Zimbabwe last year. It is a fifth win in six tournaments for the team and an excellent warm-up for the African Women’s Championship in Ghana in November.
Cameroon had chances of their own though, and on one break found Abena Ninon through on goal from a tight angle and she shot wildly over the bar.
The home side took the lead in emphatic fashion just before halftime though as the ball fell to Jane 25-yards from goal and her shot arrowed into the bottom corner of the net, leaving Ngo Ndom with no chance.
South Africa led 1-0 at the break, but were almost made to pay for some hesitant defending 10 minutes into the second period when fullback Nothando Vilakazi lost possession in the box, but with two bites of the cherry, Cameroon midfielder Raissa Feudjio could only shoot straight at home goalkeeper Kaylin Swart.
Swart was then forced into an excellent save from Madeleine Ngono Mani’s header from a free-kick, acrobatically beating the ball over her bar.
Cameroon did find their equaliser on 66 minutes though as Ngo Mbeleck showed some neat footwork in the box before placing the ball into the corner of South Africa’s net.
But South Africa did grab the victory right at the death as Jane showed excellent pace to outsprint the Cameroon defence and then provided a composed left-footed finish low past a stranded Ngo Ndom.
Indomitable Lioness’s Coach Joseph Ndoko though disappointed was glad with the performance of the team ahead of their participation at the African Women’s Championship.
FACTS AND FIGURES OF THE TOURNAMENT
NUMBER OF MATCHES PLAYED—-22
NUMBER OF GOALS—-64
BIGGEST WIN— CAMEROON 8-1 MOZAMBIQUE
MOST GOALS—–9 (CAMEROON VS MOZAMBIQUE)
INDIVIDUAL AWARDS AT THE COSAFA TOURNAMENT
PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT -NGO MBELECK GENEVIEVE (CAMEROON)
BEST GOALKEEPER —RUTH ATORU (UGANDA)
GOLDEN BOOT…..LINDA MITLHAHO 4 GOALS (SOUTH AFRICA)
FAIR PLAY TEAM…ZAMBIA