3 predictions as Banyana Banyana chase Paris 2024 Olympic dream

3 predictions as Banyana Banyana chase Paris 2024 Olympic dream
Credit: Icon Sport

The reigning Women's Africa Cup of Nations champions Banyana Banyana of South Africa will clash with DR Congo in the return leg of the second round of 2024 Olympic Games qualifiers.

The match kicks off at 15:00 SAST on Monday, 30 October 2023 at the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Along with six other countries who had good performance index in the last WAFCON, South Africa were given a bye in the first round of the Africa Women's Olympic Football Tournament Qualifiers.

Banyana Banyana returned to face off with DR Congo in the second round; they are looking to advance to the third round having secured a 1-1 draw away from home in the first leg.

Banyana Banyana team players
Credit: Icon Sport

Banyana Banyana record in Olympic qualifiers

Banyana Banyana boasts of quite a striking record in the qualifiers.

For one, qualification for the Olympics follows a difficult series of home and away matches to determine who advances from each round.

South Africa holds the second-best women's football record appearance in the Olympics; they've made two prior Olympic appearances, just behind the Super Falcons of Nigeria, who've made three showings in the tournament.

Desiree Ellis‘ ladies are hoping to continue their journey with strikers like Hildah Magaia and Thembi Kgatlana expected to lead the attack of their country against DR Congo and other subsequent opponents as Banyana Banyana continue to advance.

Thembi Kgatlana of Banyana Banyana in action
Credit: Icon Sport

CAF Women Paris 2024 Olympic qualification entrants and format

The 2024 qualifiers will be the sixth edition of the CAF Women's Olympic qualies, the quadrennial international football competition organised by the Confederation of African Football.

This is to determine which women's national teams from Africa qualify for the Olympic tournament, which is to be held in Paris, France.

The entrants (participating nations)

Granted, 53 CAF member nations were eligible to enter the qualifying rounds with only Zimbabwe suspended; however, only 25 countries submitted entries showing desire to participate and grab the two slots available for African teams.

The draw took place on 30 May 2023 in Cairo, Egypt with seven teams awarded a bye from the first round of qualifying based on their results in the 2022 Women's Africa Cup of Nations.

CAF’s two representatives will not be decided until April of 2024.

Only five African countries have participated in the women's football tournament at the Olympics since its inaugural edition at Atlanta 1996: Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Format

Four rounds of home-and-away matches will determine the two CAF representatives to the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in France.

If the cumulative scores are even after the second leg ends in regulation time, then 30 minutes of extra time will be played.

If the score is still level after extra time, then a penalty shootout will be used to determine the winner.

The matches will be played in the FIFA match windows in July and October 2023 and in February and April 2024

At the time of writing, the first round has been concluded, with the second round now in its return-leg phase.

Having outlined how the qualification format looks like, let us look at the predictions we have for South Africa's Banyana Banyana.

Banyana Banyana – 3 predictions for qualifiers

South Africa to advance to the third round

Ellis' side will host DR Congo at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Monday afternoon in the second leg of their round 2 qualifying series.

Desiree Ellis, Banyana Banyana head coach
Credit: Icon Sport

Having earned a deserved 1-1 draw away at Stade des Martyrs in Kinshasa, DR Congo last Wednesday, Banyana Banyana are expected to get the job done at home no matter how tough the match pans out.

With some great players in their ranks, it'll be unimaginable for the side to fail to advance. We strongly back South Africa to make it into the next round.

South Africa to advance to the fourth round

The third round commences from 19-28 February 2024, with eight victorious sides from the second round facing off in four home-and-away fixtures.

The draws have not been made for the third round since the second round is yet to be concluded.

Nonetheless, based on recent performances from Banyana Banyana, we fancy they have a strong chance to beat any team over two legs in the third round to advance to the fourth and last round.

Kgatlana and Magaia to prove decisive for Banyana Banyana's Olympic dream

Coach Ellis will be pleased with the crop of players available in the Banyana Banyana squad.

Hilda Magaia of Banyana Banyana
Credit: Icon Sport

The unity and understanding in the team, which helped South Africa win the last WAFCON transcended into the 2023 Women's FIFA World Cup where Banyana made some fascinating headlines.

In top of the set of players in the team are Thembi Kgatlana and Hilda Magaia who have taken it upon themselves to deliver the goods whenever called for Banyana Banyana.

In 2023, Magaia is the top goal scorer for Bafana Bafana.

Both players found the back of the net for the team in the last FIFA Women's World Cup, and Kgatlana already scored for the team in its 1-1 draw with DR Congo last Wednesday in the Olympic qualifier.

With these in mind, we predict Kgatlana and Magaia to positively and decisively impact the team's Olympic qualification dream.

This article was most recently revised and updated 8 months ago

Joseph is a freelance writer who spends most of his time writing engaging football contents. Based in Nigeria, Joseph is a die-hard Real Madrid fan with over 8 years experience in the sports betting space. He has covered football match previews, predictions, and news across leagues in Africa and Europe.