Limpopo-born striker Hildah Magaia was voted Man of the match as she inspired Banyana Banyana to a Women’s World Cup last 16. Banyana beat Italy 3-2 in a dramatic Group G clash at Wellington Regional Stadium in New Zealand.
It is also the first win for South Africa on a FIFA World Cup stage. Banyana Banyana also became the first ever senior national team to secure a knockout spot at a World Cup.
South Africa’s goals came via Magaia, Thembi Kgatlana and an own goal by Benedetta Orsi. Magaia from Dennilton has now scored two goals at the 2023 World Cup and is the first player to score more than one goal in a single edition of the Women’s World Cup for South Africa.
Head coach Desiree Ellis says her players fought like warriors and described the feeling as amazing.
“They fought like warriors, they fought like the heroines that we know that they are,” she said.
“They fought to be historically remembered and they’ve made history not just getting our first win, but going to the round of 16 and that is freaking amazing.”
HILDAH MAGAIA HELPS SOUTH AFRICA PROGRESS TO LAST 16
Meanwhile, SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan has also congratulated the team for their achievements.
“We would like to congratulate our girls for making history. Bringing joy not only to 60 million South Africans, but to the African continent as a whole,” said Jordaan.
“Beating Italy (3-2), a country ranked several places above us, showed the determination, professionalism and focus of the African champions. While we cherish and celebrate this historic moment. We must maintain our focus as we prepare to meet the Netherlands in the second round.”
Dr Jordaan was joined by COSAFA, Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Zizi Kodwa, and Premier Soccer League chairman Dr Irvin Khoza, who also sent their congratulations to the team.
South Africa will play Group E winners the Netherlands on Sunday at 04:00.