SOUTH Africa's Under-18 national side were crowned the 2010 Copa Cola-Cola Football Stars champions in Ekurhuleni yesterday.
This was after registering a well-deserved 3-1 win over neighbours Botswana at the Katlehong Stadium in an exciting final match.
Dressed in their Bafana Bafana colours and blowing vuvuzelas, the supporters turned out in large numbers to spur on the players to their historic achievement. Against Botswana, the home side's impressive work rate was a marvel to watch and they put their opponents under pressure for most of the match.
The local side forged ahead in the 20th minute when midfielder Themba Shai caught Botswana goalkeeper Bobby Mathe flat-footed with a great strike after hard work from Siyabonga Mabizela.
Before their opponents could settle down, South Africa's dangerous centre-forward Sanele Mkhize gave his side a comfortable 2-0 cushion with a powerful shot that left Botswana goalie Mathe bemused.
Botswana pulled one back five minutes into the second period when defender Onkemetse Oitsile made no mistake with a penalty.
This goal motivated Botswana, who attacked from angles in an attempt to close the gap but Lehlohonolo Mokoena increased South Africa's tally to 3-1 in the 59th minute.