Banyana Banyana took on their counterparts from Burkina Faso in the first installment of their two-legged 2024 Women’s African Cup of Nations (WAFCON) qualifier on Thursday, 30 November 2023.
In the keenly contested match played at Stade Charles Konan Banny in Yamoussoukro, capital of Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso held the African champions to a 1-1 draw.
It ends with draw against Burkina Faso. pic.twitter.com/mvGTpz7Rp2
— Banyana_Banyana (@Banyana_Banyana) November 30, 2023
Banyana Banyana went in front through Hildah Magaia just ten minutes after the break before the hosts found their equalizer just about ten minutes later.
The African champions could not find the winner as the game finished in a stalemate with plenty to play for in a fortnight.
Tight first-half contest
It was not all rosy for Banyana as they struggled to settle down in the match.
In the starting XI, coach Ellis handed a start to Janine Van Wyk as she earned her 184th cap in the process, which made her equal the record of Egyptian football great Ahmed Hassan in the record of appearances.
Janine started in a midfield three alongside Noxolo Cesane and Linda Motlhalo, while golden girl Thembi Kgatlana led the line for the champions.
It was a physical contest in the opening exchanges with no meaningful attempts on goal from either side as the match officials called for a water break midway through the first half of the match.
Just seven minutes before the break, Kgatlana thought she had given Banyana Banyana the lead only for her goal to be chalked off for offside.
Van Wyk’s night came to an end when she was replaced by Kholosa Biyana five minutes from halftime. That change added some dynamics to the play of the visitors as Cesane almost got the opener but the goalkeeper denied her brilliantly.
The half finished goalless with plenty to play for.
Improved second half performance, match ends in a draw
Banyana Banyana improved after the interval as they kept knocking on the door.
However, it was the hosts who got the first chance of the half to go in front but Banyana Banyana goalkeeper Andile Dlamini made herself big to deny them
At the other end, the visitors got the game’s opening goal through Magai via a stunning effort from distance.
In a bid to preserve the lead, coach Ellis turned to the bench after the goal as she decided to take off Nicole Michael for defender Lebohang Ramalepe.
After the hour mark, Banyana Banyana could have gone 2-0 up but the goalpost denied substitute Biyana, and just five minutes later, Burkina Faso got their goal.
The champions huffed and puffed in the final moments of the game but nothing came off for them as they settled for a draw against the West African side.
However, regardless of the outcome of the first leg, it is expected that Desiree Ellis’ side will get the job on home soil in the return leg.
Banyana Banyana Starting Line Up
Andile Dlamini, Fikile Magama, Lonathemba Mhlongo, Noko Matlou, Karabo Dhlamini, Janine Van Wyk, Noxolo Cesane, Linda Motlhalo, Thembi Kgatlana, Hildah Magaia, Nicole Michael.
Substitutes: Kaylin Swart, Lebohang Ramalepe, Faith Nokuthula, Gabriela Salgado, Sphumelele Shamase, Kholosa Biyana, Amogelang Motau
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 months ago