No matter who comes up on top, a beautiful piece of history will be made when South Africa and Mali face off in the semi-finals of the ongoing Africa Women Cup of Nations in Ghana on Tuesday.
A win for three-time finalists Banyana Banyana will not only confirm them for Saturday’s climax but also assured then of an automatic first-time qualification for the Fifa Women's World Cup.
Mali have already pushed the boundary by making it out of the group stage for the first time. Victory in Cape Coast on Tuesday will undoubtedly be an overwhelming achievement for Les Aiglonnes.
|Game||South Africa v Mali|
|Date||Tuesday, November 27|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In Ghana, the game will be televised live on GBC, SuperSport and Kwes Free Sports.
|TV channel||Online stream|
|SuperSport 9 East||N/A|
|Kenya (local TV channel)||Online stream|
Squads & Team News
|Position||South Africa players|
|Goalkeepers||Roxanne Barker, Andile Dlamini, Kaylin Swart|
|Defenders||Lebogang Ramalepe, Nothando Vilakazi, Noko Matlou, Janine van Wyk, Koketso Tlailane, Bambanani Mbane, Tiisetso Makhubela|
|Midfielders||Mamello Makhabane, Kgalebane Mohlakoana, Linda Motlhalo, Rafiloe Jane, Leandra Smeda, Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Busisiwe Ndimeni|
|Forwards||Amanda Mthandi, Thembi Kgatlana, Jermaine Seoposenwe, Melinda Kgadiete|
South Africa coach Desiree Ellis is expected to keep faith with the likes of four-goal hero Thembi Kgatlana and attacker Rafiloe Jane in her starting XI.
JVW ace Jermaine Seoposenwe could be restored to the XI after starting Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Zambia from the bench
Probable South Africa XI: Swart, Ramalepe, Van Wyk, Mbane, Vilakazi, Makhabane, Smeda, Jane, Motlhalo, Seoposenwe, Kgatlana
|Goalkeepers||Adoudou Konate, Goundo Samake, Hawa Keita|
|Defenders||Coulouba Sogore, Kani Konte, Aminata Doucoure, Aissatou Diadhiou, Djenaba Baradji|
|Midfielders||Fatoumata Doumbia, Yakare Niakate, Binta Diarra, Salimata Diarra, Lala Dicko, Aissata Traore, Bintou Koite|
|Forwards||Sebe Coulibaly, Fatoumata Diarra, Bassira Toure, Hawa Tangara, Agueissa Diarra, Maimouna Traore|
Bassira Toure and Fatoumata Diarra, with two goals each so far in the tournament, have been the stars of Les Aiglonnes’ Cinderella run in Ghana thus far.
Together with midfielder Binta Diarra, the duo will prove crucial to a possible upset of the favourite on Tuesday.
Probable Mali XI: Konate, Sogore, Konte, Coulibaly, Doumbia, F. Diarra, Toure, B. Diarra, S. Diarra, Traore, Koite
Without a doubt, South Africa come into Tuesday’s game as the clear favourites, not least because of their shooting down of eight-time champions Nigeria and a 7-1 thrashing of Equatorial Guinea in their first two games.
Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Zambia did not exactly live up to expectations but considering that all they needed was a point to top Group B, Banyana Banyana's last group outing can be easily downplayed.
“We have worked really hard to come this far in this tournament,” goalkeeper Kaylin Swart said at Monday’s pre-match conference. “Mali is not a team that we are going to smile over. All we have in our in minds is to win. We know what we came here for and that is what we are going in for.”
South Africa will also take confidence from winning their only previous Awcon meeting with Mali, having registered a 4-0 triumph in 2010.
But Les Aiglonnes will be no pushovers.
“It is true that we have made history by making it to the semi-finals for the first time. I must say it is not easy to come this far,” attacker Fatoumata Diarra said.
“We need to win against South Africa so we are hoping to achieve that. Yes, South Africa have scored a lot of goals in this tournament but every game has its own dynamics. The reality of this game will be determined on the field and we will see that tomorrow.”
Mali already upset the odds by handing hosts Ghana a 2-1 defeat in the group stage, moving on to beat Algeria 3-2 to make the last four. That will surely be a big motivation for Mohamed Saloum Hossein’s outfit.