SA women qualify for London 2012

London's Wembley Stadium
South Africa could be contesting the Olympic final at Wembley Stadium next year

South Africa's womens team have become the first African side to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Protecting a 3-0 lead from the first leg, Banyana Banyana drew 1-1 in Ethiopia to triumph 4-1 on aggregate.

Playing before 15,000 fans in Addis Adaba, the visitors led after 46 minutes when Ethiopian keeper Liya Ossa spilled Mpumelelo Nyandeni's cross.

12 minutes from time, Tobyin Mesfin Tameru equalised for the hosts - but it was too little too late.

As the final whistle blew on a historic qualification, the Banyana Banyana team put on 'London Here We Come' t-shirts and ran towards their small band of fans in the grandstand, chanting songs of celebration.

"This will be Banyana Banyana's first appearance at the Olympics since the team came into being in 1993 and the joy on the players' faces is a sign of how much this moment means to them," victorious coach Joseph Mkhonza said afterwards.

"We knew it would be tough playing Ethiopia in front of their home crowd, but our sponsors must be thanked for their commitment towards giving us a large number of camps and matches in 2011 to prepare for this moment.

"The fact that Banyana Banyana could hold their own in fielding two teams on the same day here in Ethiopia and at the All-Africa Games in Mozambique is a sign of the depth that has been created in women's football in South Africa."

Mkhonza will now fly to Mozambique where a second-string South African side is trying to reach the semi-finals of the All Africa Games.

The Ethiopian Football Federation had refused to delay Sunday's Olympic qualifier, despite requests from South Africa's FA.

South Africa will be joined at the London Games by either Cameroon or serial African champions Nigeria.

The second leg of their third round tie has been delayed because of the ongoing All Africa Games.

Nigeria lead 2-1 from the first leg but can expect a tough encounter in Cameroon on 22 October.

The women's football tournament at the London Games will take place betweeen 25 July and 9 August.

Top Stories