A win against Group A runners-up Mali in Cape Coast will not just put Banyana into Saturday’s final‚ but also see them reach what they have said is their primary goal at the Awcon of qualifying for the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
Banyana took their foot off the gas a little against Zambia from their tearaway start to the Awcon‚ where they had beaten 10-time winners Nigeria 1-0 in their opener and then hapless twice victors Equatorial Guinea 7-1.
Emerging global 22-year-old superstar Thembi Kgatlana blazed SA ahead with a half-volley driven into the top-right corner in the eighth minute for her fourth goal of the tournament. Rachael Kundananji equalised two minutes later.
Banyana dominated and had their chances to wrap up the game‚ but had to settle for a draw.
“It’s not the first time after scoring that we gave away immediate opportunities after that. Thembi also could have sealed it once again‚” Ellis said afterwards. “But it’s good that it happened now. We are still in the competition. It’s a wake-up call.
“It cannot happen again. We have to be on top of our game. And that is one of the things that you will learn in this tournament. You cannot settle down for one minute. You’ve got to be on top of your game all the time because there are no easy team around.
“And if you’re not on top of your game for the full 90 minutes you could be out of the competition. Zambia gave us a tough time. I felt we gave as good as we got. We are happy with the performance‚ not the result.”