Ellis hails impact of overseas-based trio

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Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis has praised the professional attitude of the overseas-based trio, Thembi Kgatlana, Noko Matlou, and Amanda Mthandi in camp ahead of the international friendlies against Zambia and Botswana.

Ellis is of the opinion that the Spanish-based trio’s professionalism is already rubbing off on the rest of the squad in camp at Safa’s Technical Fun Valley Centre as they prepare to take on Zambia on Saturday and Botswana on Tuesday at the Bidvest Stadium in Milpark, Braamfontein.

Both matches will kickoff at 15:00.

Kgatlana has been a revelation for Eibar since her arrival in June 2020 from Portuguese outfit Benfica. The Banyana star has notched up 10 goals in 20 appearances for the club in all competitions and Ellis strongly believes the 24-year-old has improved her finishing which will also benefit the national team.

“Look, it’s gone really well. We have Thembi, Noko and Amanda, in camp, and you can already see the professionalism rubbing off on the players. And that is what we anticipated,” said Ellis.

“The challenges that we put to the players is to consistently raise the levels and raise themselves because we all know when everyone is available, it’s more difficult with selection. So, if you raise your hand, we have a difficult decision.

“But training has been really good over the last couple of days, and we’re really looking forward to the rest of the week to complete the training.”

She added: “We’ve been joking with Thembi, to say she’s done really well. And, you know, we are anxious, we are looking forward to seeing her in Banyana. And when you look at the training that we had, you could see her finishing has improved.

“Thembi has taken the lead, you can see the professionalism in training, always in front, motivating the players on the pitch which is really exciting for the future.

“And now that’s got to rub off on the rest of the players, and it’s important, that has been a big achilles heel for us. And if we can sort that out, then you know, half the battle will be won,” added the Banyana coach.

Banyana will be in action for the first time since last November when they made history by clinching their fourth Cosafa Women’s Championship title and Ellis said the aim is to get the right combinations and ensure the players understand each other’s strengths.

“I am hoping that with clubs (Safa National Women’s League) already started their training, we won’t be that rusty, we have to be ready and step up,” she concluded.

RELATED STORY: Spain-based duo report for Banyana camp

By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi 

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