WAFCON 2022: South Africa beat Morocco to Land Historic First Title
South Africa ended decades of heartbreak and four previous final failures when beating host nation Morocco 2-1 to win the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations for the first time.
Hilda Magaia proved Banyana Banyana’s hero, scoring two quick goals midway through the second half to finally guide South Africa over the line.
Although Rosella Ayane pulled a goal back for the Atlas Lionesses ten minutes from time, it was too little too late for a team making its first appearance in the final.
In their previous four finals, South Africa has fallen short in 2000, 2008, 2012, and 2018.
“It was a humbling experience, and an emotional one, when you look at the journey that we have travelled as Banyana Banyana,” captain Refiloe Jane told BBC Sport Africa.
“To finally get to this point meant a lot for everyone. When the final whistle went out, I was crying. It was the most humbling and emotional experience.
“I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much after a football match – that goes to show our journey, everything that we had to go through and things have finally come together.”
After aiming to win the title as a player 22 years ago and failing, Banyana Banyana coach Desire Ellis found great satisfaction in this victory.
Ellis’ charges entered this competition with a so-called “mentality coach” in an effort to increase positivity after she oversaw another final setback, this one against Nigeria, from the sidelines four years prior.
“It feels amazing,” she told the BBC. “I’m an African champion now – and no one can take that away from us.”
A rowdy home crowd that had filled the 53,000-seat stadium at least two hours before kickoff and that lit up the Rabat sky with dozens of red and white flares during the game required tremendous composure from South Africa the whole game.