Banyana win first Women’s Cup of Nations title

South Africa striker Hildah Magaia scored twice as they claimed their first Women’s Africa Cup of Nations title by beating hosts Morocco 2-1 in Saturday’s final.

Magaia’s two goals came in the space of eight minutes as she tapped home from close range in the 63rd minute and added a second in the 71st from a similar position.

A lapse in concentration saw South Africa give away possession to allow Morocco to pull a goal back in the 80th minute through their English-born striker Rosella Ayane.

It set up a nervy finish, which included nine minutes of added time, in front of a capacity crowd in the Moroccan capital Rabat.

It was South Africa’s first title after having finished runners-up five times, including the last edition in 2018.

Morocco were playing in their first final and will be heading with South Africa to next year’s Women’s World Cup along with the two beaten semifinalists Nigeria and Zambia.

The Cup of Nations serves as Africa’s qualification event for the tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

In a related development, Zambia rode their good fortune to claim the bronze medal at the championship with a 1-0 victory over Nigeria in the third and fourth place playoff on Friday.

A fortuitous own goal just before the half hour mark handed Zambia a first ever win over the Super Falcons and consolation for their controversial semifinal defeat to South Africa at the start of the week.

The win was hard fought as they weathered Nigeria’s attacks and domination of possession while looking to threaten on the counterattack. –Reuters

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