Despite registering back to back victories and clean sheets against Angola and Eswatini respectively, scoring seven goals in the process, Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis believes the side can still improve in the Cosafa Women’s Championship.
After two matches, Ellis has fielded all, but one of her 20-player squad at the Championship in Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Bay as they chase their fourth consecutive title.
Ellis made it clear that she wants her troops to treat each and every game with respect. “Sometimes if you get too far ahead of yourself you lose focus,” she said.
The defending champions, Banyana are top of Group A with six points and have already clinched their place in the semifinal of the tournament. They are followed by Eswatini on three points and Comoros and Angola on one apiece.
“We are hoping to improve in all areas, but I am really proud of this group of players; a new group coming into a tournament and raising their hands and put in a lot of work. What we witnessed in Angola and Eswatini matches is a result of hard work.
“There’s no point in bringing players to a tournament and then not giving them a chance to show their worth. We have one player who has yet to have a run here at the tournament.
Banyana will wrap up their Group A assignment against Comoros on Monday afternoon before facing Group C winners in the semifinal that commence on 12 November 2020. Eswatini play Angola in today’s other Group A match.
“We have six points after two games and we’re on top of the Group A standings. It has gone pretty much as expected and now we need to step up our intensity. There is also the all-important matter of player rotation which is vital for various reasons at a tournament like this.
“Whoever has not had game time yet, will play against Comoros. We decided that everyone in the squad must have game time.”
The 57-year-old coach went on to state that she had identified areas of their game which needed attention. “We have not devoted time to set-pieces because we were working hard on playing systems.
“These wins (against Angola and Eswatini) are morale-boosters because it instils confidence,” said Ellis. “Some of the new players have been impressive and have shown they are ready for international football.
“When deciding on the selections, we must also keep an eye on our next opponent. We don’t know who that will be, but the playoffs start on Thursday and we would like everyone in the squad to be fresh,” concluded the Banyana coach.
— Banyana_Banyana (@Banyana_Banyana) November 9, 2020
By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi