RECORD: South Africa Are Crowned Champions Of The 2022 WAFCON For The First Time In History. (WATCH HIGHLIGHTS).

The Banyana Banyana of South Africa has ended decades of heartbreak as they tasted glory after being crowned champions of the 2022 Women's Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in history.

After losing five previous finals: in 1995, 2000, 2008, 2012 and 2018, losing the lady edition final on penalties to nine-time champions Nigeria.

South Africa broke their long-standing curse in the 2022 edition, as they edged past the host nation Morocco 2-1 at the Prince Moulay Abdel Stadium on Saturday night.

It was a nervy start to the final, with the first-half which was quite intense for both teams ended goalless.

Three goals were later scored in the second-half, as Hildah Magaia proved to be the heroine of the night, scoring two quick goals in the space of eight minutes.

Following all her missed goal-scoring chances throughout the tournament, Magaia tapped in an excellent cutback from Jermaine Seoposenwe to open the scoring in the 63rd minute.

She then doubled Banyana's lead in the 71st minute with another close finish, this time from a cross out wide from Karabo Dhlamini that Morocco’s defence failed to cut out.

But a lapse in concentration saw South Africa lose possession and offered Morocco hope of a comeback with Rosella Ayane pulling one back in the 80th minute after being set up by Fatima Tagnaout.

South Africa held on as they survived a late fight back to finally emerge victorious against the determined Atlas Lionesses in front of the sell-out 53,000 raucous home crowd.

Hildah Magaia's performance hands her the Woman of the Match against Morocco.

"It was a humbling experience, and an emotional one, when you look at the journey that we have travelled." Banyana's captain Refiloe Jane told the media after the game.

"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."

South Africa completed the tournament with 100 per cent record after being the only side to win all six of their matches and will travel to next year's FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand as African champions.

Runners-up Morocco, third and fourth-placed Zambia and Nigeria would also joining them in the 2023 showpiece.

Coach Desiree Ellis's team defeated tournament favourites Nigeria's Super Falcons (2-1) in their opening match before seeing off Burundi (3-1), and Botswana (1-0) to finish top of Group C.

A slender 1-0 victories against Tunisia and Zambia in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively, set up a final against Morocco, who knocked out holders Nigeria via penalties in the semi-final to ensure that a new team would be crowned champions for the first time in the competitions history.

The victory meant so much for Banyana Banyana's coach after trying and losing three WAFCON finals, one as a player 22 years ago, and two as a manager.

Ellis was in charge of the team that oversaw the last edition final defeat, against Nigeria, four years ago.

Meanwhile, Morocco's Ghizlane Chebbak has been named Player of the Tournament, South Africa's Andile Dlamini wins Goalkeeper of the Tournament, Coach Ellis Coach regarded as Africa's best coach, and South Africa also named the Fair Play team.

Banyana Banyana were officially crowned the 2022 Team of the Year at the CAF Awards two days ago, and are set to return to South Africa on Tuesday, 26 July at the O.R Tambo International Airport.


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