Reigning CAF Women's Coach of the Year Desiree Ellis carried on where she left off in April 2021 as South Africa eased to a 3-0 win over Ghana in their Aisha Buhari Cup campaign in Lagos on Friday.
Cruising from wins over Zambia and Botswana in April, Banyana Banyana went up against Mercy Tagoe-Quarcoo's side with aim of avoiding a third defeat in a row to their West African rivals.
Thembi Kgatlana's brilliant attempt off a super run from left wing came off the crossbar but Hildah Magaia made no mistake to open the scoring, tapping in the rebound in the 17th minute.
The Black Queens pushed for a leveler through Grace Asentawaa but goalkeeper Kaylin Swart was spot on to deny the Real Betis midfielder from close range after half-an-hour in the contest.
On the brink of half time, goalkeeper Dumehasi Fafali denied Kgatlana from doubling the lead for the South Africans before Princella Adubea forced Swart to save on the other end of the pitch.
After the recess, both top African sides made changes but it was Banyana Banyana that saw more possession of the ball as Kgatlana made the break in the 53rd minute after individual action from the left. Despite Ghana's best efforts, Sibulele Holweni will seal South Africa's victory with a third goal six minutes from full time.
The triumph at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena was Banyana Banyana's first win since November 2018 - when they beat the Black Queens in the TotalEnergies Africa Women's Cup of Nations - and it ended a winless run of six consecutive games in all meetings at the senior level.
Next up for Tagoe-Quarcoo’s ladies is another high profile tie at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena where they take on Gabriel Zabo’s Cameroon, who lost 1-0 to Morocco, on September 20.
A day later, South Africa, on the other end, will also look to avenge their 2018 AWCON final loss to the Super Falcons when they meet at the same venue.
What They Said
South Africa coach Desiree Ellis
"In the beginning, we were a bit rusty, we haven't played since April and some of our (foreign) players, we haven't seen since 2019. While, the other group (Ghana) have been in training. Today, we created a lot of opportunities and we got better as the game went on. We know that there's a game coming up (against Nigeria) and needed to manage ourselves better. We are very happy for the result and the performance still leaves a lot of room for improvement."
South Africa captain Janine Van Wyk
"We know that Ghana is a powerhouse in African football. I think that any team that they field will be a strong team and we had a mentality that they will come out strong. And also, everyone on our team was really ready for a good fight. We played better and managed the game really well. I think that comes with experience of the players on the team. Overall, looking at the result and performances, I think we were the better team today."
Ghana coach Mercy Tagoe-Quarcoo
"I think we've had a good game, even though, we lost the match, it's a preparatory game for Ghana. We have a pending important assignment ahead. So, I brought a lot of new players to test and see how best they can fit into my main team. I really missed a lot of my experienced players, not only just the captain (Elizabeth Addo). When I have the full complements of my team, you will see a different ball game. I'm not embarrassed at all by the result. This is a preparatory match and I have a major agenda for the major task ahead."
Ghana goalkeeper Dumehasi Fafali
"This is a game, and in games like this, mistakes do happen. Though it's painful to lose, this is an exercise to prepare for the major assignment ahead of us which is the (TotalEnergies) Africa Women's Cup of Nations qualifiers."