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  • Babajide EverBlazin

South Africa edges Morocco to win first WAFCON title

The Bayana Bayana of South Africa on Saturday lifted their first WAFCON title after a 2-1 win against hosts, Morocco at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat on Saturday night.

Hildah Magaia's second half double was enough for the Southern African ladies to edge their Moroccan counterpart who also got a consolation goal through Rosella Ayane in the last ten minutes of the final clash.

It's South Africa's first WAFCON crown having lost in five finals.

This was a battle between two teams who have been unbeaten right from the group stages, with Banyana having reached the final after edging out their Southern African rivals Zambia 1-0 in a semi-final clash on Monday.

Morocco, also booked their first appearance in a WAFCON final having knocked out Nigeria's Super Falcons on Monday via penalties after 120-minutes of football.

The two teams nullified each other in the opening 20 minutes of the encounter with most of the ball being played in the middle of the park with neither side being able to create clear-cut chances.

Given the intense football on display, both goalkeepers saw little or no tests with the lively Jane battling with Lionesses of Atlas' influential playmaker Sanaa Mssoudy for control of the midfield.

The match began to open up just after the half-hour mark and the first real chance of the game fell for Magaia who was sent through on goal by Jermaine Seoposenwe's incisive pass, but the former was denied by goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi.

The hosts did threaten when Fatima Tagnaout set up Ayane who fired wide off the target from inside the box but the score remained 0-0 at half-time.

Banyana looked dangerous on the counter with the Lionesses of Atlas attacking in numbers after the restart with Pedros' side looking to break the deadlock.

However, the hosts were left vulnerable at the back and Seoposenwe ran onto a long ball from Jane, before cutting inside and setting up Magaia who made no mistake - beating Er-Rmichi with a low shot from inside the box to make it 1-0 to South Africa in the 63rd minute.

Morocco responded by surging forward in numbers - leaving space behind their defence and they were punished by Desire Elis' Bayana Bayana once more.

This time Karabo Dhlamini delivered a cross which was slightly deflected, but the ball fell kindly for Magaia who fired past Er-Rmichi from close range to make it 2-0 to South Africa in the 72nd minute with the Lionesses of Atlas defence exposed.

The hosts would get their consolation goal from Ayane whose first-time shot beat eventual 2022 Wafcon Goalkeeper of the Tournament Andile Dlamini to make it 2-1 - setting up a nervy finish for Banyana with 10 minutes left.

However, South Africa were able to contain Morocco in the dying minutes of the game and ultimately, they secured their first ever continental crown.

Magaia's brace also earned her the tournament's Golden Boot award which she shared with 2022 Wafcon Player of the Tournament Ghizlane Chebbak of Morocco and Nigerian star Rasheedat Ajibade as the three players netted three goals in the continental competition.

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