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South Africans End Decades Of Heartbreak To Win WAFCON 2022

South Africans have ended decades of heartbreak by defeating host nation Morocco 2-1 to win the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations for the first time.

Gatekeepers News reports that Banyana Banyana has broken their long-standing curse at their fifth time of getting to the final of the tournament.

Hilda Magaia scored two quick goals midway through the second half to finally guide South Africa over the line.

Although Rosella Ayane pulled a goal back for Morocco ten minutes from time, the goal was sufficient for a team making its first appearance in the final.

South Africa had lost their four previous finals: 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.”

For Banyana Banyana coach Desire Ellis, this was a hugely-satisfying win after first trying – and failing – as a player to win the trophy when losing the final 22 years ago.

After Ellis oversaw another final defeat, against Nigeria, four years ago from the touchline, her charges entered this tournament with a so-called ‘mentality coach’ in a bid to improve positivity.

“It feels amazing,” she told the BBC. “I’m an African champion now – and no one can take that away from us.”

Morocco’s federation has ambitious plans for the women’s game, hoping to have 90,000 players and 1,000 licenced coaches by 2024.

Banyana Banyana were the only side to win all six of their matches and will travel to next year’s Women’s World Cup as African champions, with Morocco, third-placed Zambia and nine-time champions Nigeria joining them in the 2023 tournament.

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