There’s a cynical saying that finishing anywhere other than first place, is losing. But even though Banyana Banyana, our national women’s football team, were the losers in the final of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations final against Nigeria in Accra, Ghana on Saturday evening, they’re still winners for us.
Nigeria squeaked in 4-3 on penalties after 120 minutes of football – regulation and extra time – had failed to yield a winner. Penalty shoot-outs are an anti-climactic way for football matches to be decided but, having said that, the process of kicks from the spot was a very close run thing.
In the end, we didn’t lift the trophy and got a silver medal in the tournament, while Nigeria took the trophy for the 11th time … but Banyana Banyana did run the most powerful women’s team in Africa mighty close. And they are are going to next year’s FIFA World Cup in France.
That is very much a victory for a South African sport which is often neglected – by sporting bodies, by officials, by sponsors and, most of all, by fans. Banyana Banyana have proved again they can do what their male equivalents – Bafana Bafana – struggle to do.