South Africa’s hopes of winning a maiden African Women’s Championship came to a crushing end when they were beaten 4-0 by host Equatorial Guinea in the decider in Malabo on Sunday.
The result is a bitter blow for Banyana Banyana, who were confident of victory after their first-ever win over Nigeria in the semifinals.
But perhaps that fixture on Wednesday took too much out of them physically and mentally because they battled to find their rhythm in Sunday’s decider.
Gloria Chinasa scored twice for Equatorial Guinea, to go with goals from Genoveva Anonman and Amantiga. Their win will spark more debate over the oil-rich country’s willingness to hand out passports to players who agree to play for them without any period of residency.
Almost the entire squad selected for the African Women’s Championship were born outside Equatorial Guinea, most in Brazil, but also in other African states. Although there is nothing illegal in what the football association are doing, they have been accused of poor sportsmanship.
After a bright start, South Africa were put in the back foot when Nigerian-born Chinasa headed home from a corner just before halftime.
Brazilian-born Amantiga made it 2-0 midway through the second period, sparking a flurry of goals for the hosts. Skipper Anonman made it 3-0, before Chinasa added a fourth on 72 minutes.
It is South Africa’s fourth silver medal in the competition. They will now look to the 2014 event, which is due to be staged in Namibia.