South Africa finally ended a long decade of heartbreak and four previous final failures after defeating host nation Morocco 2-1 to win the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
Hilda Magaia’s brace midway through the second half led Bayana Bayana to their first ever continental title.
Although Rosella Ayane pulled a goal back for the Atlas Lionesses ten minutes from time, it was too little too late for a team making its first appearance in the final.
South Africa had lost their four previous finals: in 2000, 2008, 2012 and 2018.
The first half was a tense affair, with no chances on target from either side, but the game burst into life when Magaia latched onto Jermaine Seoposenwe’s cutback just after the hour to give South Africa their first ever lead in a WAFCON final.
Eight minutes later, the South Korea-based forward made it two as she punished slack defence from Nesryne El Chad, who had otherwise impressed during the finals, to dink the ball past Moroccan goalkeeper Khadija Err-michi for a crucial two-goal lead.
Tottenham Hotspur’s Ayane pulled one back for the North Africans, but her effort was not enough to see the hosts crowned champions.
The victory represents South Africa’s second continental title, after the men’s team won the 1996 Nations Cup when also beating North African opposition, Tunisia, thanks also to a brace, from Mark Williams.