Sinan Rajub Senoga
Four time champions and holders South Africa defeated the Crested Cranes 2-0 to seal a final date with Cameroon in this year’s COSAFA Women’s Championship.
From the onset, The Banyana Banyana were dominant bosing possession and creating goal scoring chances one after the other while Uganda were on the back foot for the entire 90 minutes.
It took only seven minutes for the South Africans to draw first blood. An unmarked Linda Motlhalo capitalized of a defensive mishap to brilliantly finish off a long ball played into the box.
The result would have been a cricket score but Ruth Aturo stepped up to occasions throughout the match. Aturo excellently stretched to parry away a goal bound shot from Refiloe Jane before denying Noko Alice Matlou 5 minutes past the half hour mark.
The cycle continued with Banyana Banyana trying to double the lead with a host of attacks but the Ugandan goalkeeper stood firmly in their way.
Uganda’s best chance on the evening fell to the roving left back Grace Aluka who stepped up to covert a free kick but her effort went few inches over the bar.
Come into the second period, Farida Bulega who had named the same line up that started against Zimbabwe, had to make two urgent substitutions.
Hasifa Nassuna and Juliet Nalukenge came on for Shamirah Nalugya and Lillian Mutuuzo to bolster Uganda’s offensive options.
Resty Nanziri switched to the left wing while Zainah moved to the right with Nalukenge turning up as the lone striker. No surprise, the Kawempe Muslim startlet was isolated upfront for the rest of the game.
Grace Aluka had a long evening
The Banyana Banyana were more offensive than they were in the first half, but still Aturo kept them away from the second goal.
Chrestinah Kgatlana (on two successive occasions) and Jermaine Seoposenwe came closest to beating Aturo but she exquisitely denied them.
67 minutes on the clock, Aturo’s resilience was broken down when Mothalo teed up Seoposenwe who effortlessly doubled the lead for the holders.
Spencer Nakachwa was brought on for Zainah Namuleme with 12 minutes left to normal time but could barely make any impact.
Diminutive Lillian Mutuuzo was withdrawn for Juliet Nalukenge minutes into the second half
South Africa will now lock horns with another guest nation in Cameroon in the final slated for Saturday 22nd.
Uganda will play a third place play off with Zambia tomorrow (Friday) at 4:00pm at the Isaac Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
Crested Cranes XI
Ruth Aturo (GK), Aisha Namukisa, Resty Nanziri, Shadia Nankya, Viola Namuddu, Tracy Jones Akiror (Captain), Shamirah Nalugya, Phionah Nabbumba, Zainah Namuleme, Grace Aluka, Lillian Mutuuzo
Juliet Adeke (GK), Daisy Nakaziro (GK), Hasifa Nassuna, Juliet Nalukenge, Norah Alupo, Bridget Nabisalu, Spencer Nakachwa, Riticia Nabbosa, Shakirah Mutiibwa