‘Les Elephantes’ qualify for World Cup

‘Les Elephantes’ qualify for World Cup
25 October 2014 06:22

Cote d’Ivoire snatched the final ticket for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup after a 1-0 win over South Africa in the third-place match on Saturday in Windhoek.

Rebecca Ida scored the only goal of the match six minutes from time to hand ‘Les Elephantes’ the final African slot for next year’s women’s version of the Mundial joining Nigeria and Cameroon. 

The feat represents a huge feat for the Ivorians who are participating in the African Women Championship only for the second time.

The West Africans did what mattered most – scoring in the encounter that clearly had the South Africans as the dominant force. Banyana Banyana was haunted by their inability to convert the countless goal scoring opportunities that came their way.

After a slow start from both teams, South Africa took control of the game with Mamello Makhabane, Amanda Dlamini and Sanah Mollo making the difference in the opening minutes.

The trio was the architect of all moves upfront but erratic shooting and poor conversion rate were the bane of the South Africans.

After nine minutes, a Dlamini volley was parried out by Ivorain goalie Ange Marie Thiamele, who was by far the busier in the opening half.

On 20 minutes, Lebohang Ramalepe, who had a field day at the right back was unlucky to see her cross hit the side net. Banyana Banyana continued to press and two minutes later Mollo was in a good position to head home only for Thiamele to come out of her post with a block.

The best chance for the South Africans fell to Dlamini on 26 minutes, and after managing to beat Thiamele on a one-on-one situation, her effort missed target narrowly to the relief of the Ivorians.

Just before the break, Makhabane, who worked tirelessly in the middle almost capped her performance with a goal but her header from Ramalepe’s cross from the right again went wide.

‘Les Elephantes’ resumed with two changes, Thiamele who sustained an injury during the earlier half was replaced by Lydie Abie whilst Jeanne Nadege came out for Christelle N’Guessan.

The diminutive N’Guessan made her presence felt instantly with surging runs on the left wings giving South Africa captain Janine Van Wyk so much to worry about.

Cote d’Ivoire captain Estelle Nahi began to make her presence felt after being kept on the quiet during the first half. Two minutes past the hour mark, Nahi beat Nonthando Vilakazi on the right and laid to Ines Tia, but the latter delivered a poor connection that was no problem for South African goalie Philadelphia Mndaweni.

Banyana Banyana coach, Vera Pauw pulled put Mollo and Dlamini for Silindile Ngubane and Refiloe Jane respectively as she varied her team’s playing style in search of the opener.

After failing to cut in from the right, Nahi swapped places with N’Guessan with the former opting for the left side of attack.

On 84 minutes, Ida broke the deadlock with a low shot from a corner kick that beat Mndaweni for what turned out to be the only goal of the match.

As the clock ticked on, the South Africans kept the Ivorian halve boiling in search of the equalizer with centre back Noko Matlou joining the attack. On 88 minutes, Portia Modise headed wide after Refiloe had put her through in what their closest chance at leveling the score.

TN Mobile Woman of the Match
5. Janine Van Wyk (South Africa)


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