Banyana Banyana has been a key factory in the Southern region of Africa and the journey of women’s football is inspiring to take note of till today. Different coaches and players have played their roles in Banyana Banyana for the past two decades and taking a look at their achievements it is a mindblowing experience.
Banyana Banyana played their 5th COSAFA Women’s Championship edition in Zimbabwe from the 13th till 24th of September and it was rock & roll hall of fame. The selected squad had new debutants like Regina Mogolola and it was a good experience to write down their influential performances. Banyana Banyana did not find it easy since from the kick-off day as 3 times champions of the Southern region with all eyes on them. They played in Group C along Botswana, Nambia and Lesotho, scored 7 goals and conceded 2 goals in the group stages. Chantelle Esau, Thembi Kgatlana and Leandra Smeda had everything covered as they impressed lifting the team spirit from day one.
Banyana Banyana interim coach Desiree Ellis became the first ever player and coach to clinch COSAFA title twice. Without a doubt it was history wrote down on the COSAFA history books despite a challenging clash against a confident side of Zambia in the semi-finals. Banyana Banyana showed character and desire as they bounced back within less than 15 minutes from 3 nil down to seal a 3-3 draw before the stoppage time. All thanks to Rhoda Mulaudzi for scoring that one crucial goal in the dying minutes of the game against Zambia.
On the 24th of September, Banyana Banyana faced Zimbabwe for the second time running as both sides looked to maintain their status and make it count. Thembi Kgatlana continued her good run as she opened the 2017 COSAFA final account with a goal as Banyana Banyana took 1-0 lead. Prolific Rutendo Makore displayed her desire to win big as she scored the 10th goal of the tournament in the 73rd minute with Zimbabwe levelling up 1-1 with Banyana Banyana. As the game was about to get to the 90th minute, UWC veteran Leandra Smeda scored the winning goal as Banyana Banyana overcame Zimbabwe 2-1 at Barbourfields Stadium to win their 4th COSAFA title.
It was sweet revenge as Banyana Banyana failed to beat Zimbabwe on the 8th of July, 2011. But with a long wait of time, Banyana Banyana became the first team both in men’s and women’s championship side to win the COSAFA title 4 times in 5 successive finals.