Ellis backs Matlou for European success

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Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has heaped praise over Noko Matlou’s move to Europe, adding that she has no doubt in her mind that the player will do great at her new home.

Matlou (35), will be pairing up with her Banyana Banyana teammate Thembi Kgatlana at SD Eibar, as two of the additions that the club has brought in to help them in their fight of keeping their Spanish Primera Iberdrola status.

Eibar gained promotion back into the Spanish elite women’s league the past season, after having last featured in it back in 2009.

Ellis added that the defender, who is the first South African female to win the CAF Women’s Footballer of the Year back in 2008, has always had a winner’s mindset to succeed.

“Noko is one of the hard-working players I know,” Ellis said. “She has always wanted this and I have no doubt in my mind that she will succeed. She is not the type to give up or give in to any situation. She’s a fighter and one of the strong characters to have (around).

“Having Kgatlana that side is also a plus for her,” Ellis added. “Kgatlana comes with the experience of having played in (already four) different countries abroad and I’m quite confident that she will offer her the needed encouragement and support whenever needed.”

Matlou becomes the fifth South African player to join a Spanish women’s league side following the move of Nothando Vilakazi (Logrono), Thembi Kgatlana (Eibar), Amanda Mthandi (Badajoz) and Kholosa Biyana (Gijon).

The two time CAF Women’s Coach of the Year said that having more female South African players abroad can only bode well for the country’s football on an international level.

“Having more of our players plying their trade abroad can only be beneficial for us. I say this because such players are constantly exposed to the demands of grinding out results at very demanding football leagues and Cup competitions.

That is the type of high level performance that is needed in a national team if it is to compete and do great at an international scene,” said the 2018 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations finalist.

Meanwhile, Eibar will take on Levante UD in an away fixture this Saturday , following a 1-0 victory they produced in their first league game against Real Betis Féminas.

Kgatlana came in the 69th minute as a sub in that encounter.

RELATED STORY: Age is just a number – Matlou

By Mohau Ramashidja 

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