The Mares have put one foot into the next round of the 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifiers after a 5-1 away win over Angola. The team beat Angola 5-1 in the first leg of the preliminary round of the AWCON qualifiers on Wednesday evening.
USA-based striker, Thuto Ramafifi started her first Mares’ match in two years in the place of Nondi Mahlasela. The team was, however, hit with an early scare as the home side took the lead in the second minute through Zeferina Ngonguinah strike. The goal was met with a quick response as Ramafifi connected well with Refilwe Tholakele’s ball to equalise for the Mares three minutes later. Zambia-based, Thanda Mokgabo doubled the team’s lead with three minutes to the break.
The local girls took control of the game from the start of the second half and were rewarded in the 48th minute with Lesego Radiakanyo finding the net with a beautifully placed shot. A minute later, Tholakele turned scorer as she tucked in the fourth goal for the Mares. Radiakanyo completed her brace in the 74th minute to complete a route away from home giving the home side an enormous advantage ahead of the second leg. Reacting to the win, Nkutlwisang lauded her troops for their resilience but bemoaned a growing trend of conceding early. “We executed our plan very well. Yes, they converted a goal in the first minutes and looks it would be our culture to concede that early.
But we scored quickly. I think in two minutes, we equalised. The girls came to the party, they showed character, and they needed it most. All I can say is well done to the girls,” she said. The Mares will take on Angola in the return leg on Tuesday at the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. The team will meet either Zimbabwe or Eswatini if they proceed to the second round. Zimbabwe won the first leg tie 3-1 at home. The Mares returned home yesterday (Thursday).