Ellis targets Fifa Calendar to bring in overseas players

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South Africa women’s national football team head coach Desiree Ellis says she wants to use the upcoming international break to have some friendly matches and bring in overseas-based players to the team.

Ellis told SAFA.net that she hopes to use 2021 as a year to return to full fitness for her squad to gear up for the Africa Women Cup of Nations qualifiers coming up and the tournament itself in 2022 in Morocco

“We would like to bring in the overseas-based players back into the squad during the Fifa calendar because the last time they donned the national team jersey was towards the end of 2019 when we faced Japan, so it is a very long time,” said Ellis.

“We know they have improved because of the regular training and games they are involved in, and that is good for us. If you look at the likes of Nigeria and Cameroon, they have all these experienced players abroad and when they come back they change the mentality and everything within the team, making everything better.

“So, we are hoping for a similar experience. Remember, previously we had one or two (players) overseas, now we have a whole lot of them. Hopefully, they will take this team to a higher level and we need to use this year to catch up.”

The 58-year-old mentor assembled an 18-woman squad that consisted of local players to a training camp in order to assess their fitness level, with amateur football yet to return to league action.

The training commenced on Monday and it will come to an end on Friday, 19 March.

“The technical team is actually very impressed with what they saw, because we did not expect the players to be at the level they are. The clubs have done very well with their pre-season training and we can only get better from this point going forward,” she adds

“After this camp, we believe the players are going back to their club’s fitter, they understand more what they need to do, they have created that culture of competitiveness and they have increased teamwork and that is important for us – that is what we wanted to achieve with this camp and we have done just that.”

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By FARPost Reporter

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