Banyana look to get Cosafa Cup title defence off to a strong start

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Banyana Banyana will start their Cosafa Women’s Championship title defence against Angola at the Wolfson Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay on Tuesday afternoon.

The Group A clash is scheduled to kickoff at 15h30 and Desiree Ellis’ charges are chasing a fourth straight title, having won the last three editions of the tournament.

Ellis believes integrating junior national team players into the Banyana set-up will extend their selection pool in the near future.

She is using the Cosafa Women’s Championship to strengthen her pool of players by introducing new faces into the fold.

In what is a new look Banyana side, Ellis bloods several new players, including six stars from the Under-20 women’s team (Basetsana) – a blend of new talent and experience.

Despite heading to the tournament with a different squad from the 2019 edition, Banyana are still viewed as the favourites again this year.

“We are the defending champions, but I won’t say it will be easy,” said Ellis, who insists that none of their Group A opponents will be taken lightly.

The Cosafa Championship will the first women’s international competition to be staged on the African continent since the Covid-19 pandemic disruption, which began back in March.

“We will be going up against teams that began preparations before us. But the players have put in the great work and the competition will begin immediately in the first game,” added Ellis.

Banyana will also tackle Comoros and Eswatini in their pool, with only the top team in each group advancing to the semifinals, as well as the best placed runner-up.

“We played Comoros last year [won 17-0] and I am sure they would have improved; Angola was also in the tournament last year.

“Eswatini was in the same group with Angola, but you cannot take any team lightly. You do so at your peril. We have a young group of players and the opportunity now to expose them to international competition.

“And we want to make sure we plan properly. Then it is up to the players to execute. The first game of the tournament is always the most important and we are working towards that,” concluded Ellis.

Before the Banyana and Angola clash, the tournament will get underway with a meeting between Eswatini and Comoros at 12h30.

“No fans will be allowed access into the stadiums, but matches will be broadcast LIVE on SuperSport’s Variety4 in South Africa, and Variety 4 Africa and Go Select 2, as well as being streamed LIVE on www.cosafa.tv. You can view the full fixture list by clicking here.”

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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi 

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