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Banyana Banyana ease into semi-final of Women's AFCON

Thembi Kgatlana (Gallo Images)
Thembi Kgatlana (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Banyana Banyana are through to the semi-finals of the 2018 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations following a 1-1 draw against Zambia in the Battle of the South played at the Accra Sports Stadium in Ghana on Saturday.

This was South Africa’s seventh last four qualification in a row in the tournament - the last time they failed to do so was in 2004 when Banyana Banyana hosted the competition.

Head coach Desiree Ellis made three changes to the squad that walloped Equatorial Guinea 7-1 - restoring the starting line-up that took on Nigeria, minus Jermaine Seoposenwe.

Thembi Kgatlana was quick off the mark to put South Africa into the lead with a goal in the seventh minute - her fourth goal in the three matches in the tournament, which saw her walk away with the woman-of-the-match for third time in a row, the only player to do so in the competition.

But the celebrations had hardly died down when Zambia stunned Banyana Banyana with an equaliser just a minute later after the defence was caught napping.

In the end, the draw was enough to see South Africa to the next round while the Zambians were eliminated after Nigeria showed no mercy to Equatorial Guinea, beating them 6-0 to secure the other semi-final spot.

Banyana Banyana will return to the Cape Coast to face Mali on Tuesday, who will be making their first appearance in the AFCON semi-final.

Meanwhile, Nigeria and Cameroon will battle it out in Accra for a spot in the final.

The top three from this quartet will represent the African continent at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, scheduled for June 2019.

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