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Banyana earn crucial 1-1 away draw with DRC in Olympic qualifier

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Banyana Banyana striker Thembi Kgatlana scored her team's only goal against DRC in the Olympic qualifer.
Banyana Banyana striker Thembi Kgatlana scored her team's only goal against DRC in the Olympic qualifer.
Image: Mark Lyons/BackpagePix

Banyana Banyana managed a hard fought 1-1 draw with Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) during their Olympic qualifier at the Stade des Martyrs on Wednesday afternoon. 

Banyana star striker Thembi Kgatlana got the all-important equaliser after 49 minutes after Grace Mfwamba gave the hosts the lead shortly before the break. 

Desiree Ellis of South Africa will be the happier of the two coaches as Banyana scored the important away goal which may prove crucial when they meet again during the return leg at Orlando Stadium on Monday. 

Ellis went with the strongest possible team that boasted experienced campaigners like Kaylin Swart, Fikile Magama, Kholosa Biyana Noxolo Cesane, Thembi Kgatlana and Hildah Magaia. 

DRC  were the first to settle and were rewarded for creating most of the chances five minutes from the break when Turkish-based striker Grâce Mfwamba got the better of Wendy Shongwe before beating Kylin Swart. 

For the opener, Mfwamba showed composure inside the box as she chested the ball away from Shongwe before she unleashed a thunderous shot that gave Swart no chance. 

Banyana got the equaliser after 75 minutes when Kgatlana found the back of the net from close range after she received a cross from substitute Nicole Michael. 

Banyana were saved by the woodwork in the closing stages as DRC went all out to increase their lead and put themselves in a good position for the return leg in Johannesburg. 

There was no opportunity for veteran defender Janine van Wyk to get on to the pitch and increase her 183 international caps earned in a glorious career. 

Van Wyk needs two more matches to become the most capped player, male or female, on the continent.