The South African Womens under-17 team (Bantwana) failed at the final hurdle against their Zambian counterparts at the Bidvest Stadium on Sunday afternoon, as they lost 3-1 in the second leg, 6-4 over both legs.
After the first leg ended in a 3-3 draw, Bantwana only needed a low-scoring draw or victory to qualify for the under-17 World Cup finals in Costa Rica, but Zambia booked their ticket with the win.
Grace Chanda put the Zambians ahead in the 24th minute, as the Bantwana defence failed to clear, and she was able to nod home.
They almost had a second six minutes later, but Ryneveldt managed to clear the ball off the line.
Gaby Salgado equalized for Bantwana from the penalty spot just before half-time, to put them back in the driving seat, and it remained 1-1 at half-time.
But the Zambians took control of the tie in the second half and went back in the lead in the 56th minute when Chanda scored again for the visitors to give them a 2-1 lead on the day.
In the last ten minutes both sides were reduced to ten, when first Zambia's Given Mukanda was dismissed for a second yellow card, and then Zambia were awarded a penalty when Chamelle Wiltshire was adjudged to handle the ball in the box, and got her marching orders.
Zambia made it 3-1 as Ireen Lungu scored from the spot and qualified for their first ever under 17 World Cup.
‘We played badly especially at the back and we conceded, again some very soft goals,” Bantwana coach Sheryl Botes told the SAFA website.