“I remember it as if it was yesterday… When Thembi Kgatlana scored Banyana Banyana’s first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup goal), I had to contain myself to stay calm.”
Coach Desiree Ellis recalls Banyana Banyana’s maiden FIFA Women’s World Cup appearance and Kgatlana’s sublime finish against Spain in France last year in June-July.
Banyana might have lost all their World Cup Group Stage matches against Spain, China and Germany – getting knocked out in the first round of competition, but the mission was accomplished as Ellis and the ladies had finally made it to the world stage for the first time and gained invaluable experience in the progress.
“We did not get the results we wanted in France, but in terms of memories, those will be etched in our minds for as long as we live. We shall never forget,” said Ellis.
“After the World Cup there was no going back, we had to show the experience gained. Everyone now looked at the team and expected more and more and that meant we had to consistently raise our game.
“When you have tasted something, you want it more and more. With the experience gained by all, we have a huge task to qualify again and through the support of SAFA and SASOL, our proud sponsor, that is possible.
“Everything has been put on hold as we all trying to stay safe and take care of each other during this difficult time of the corona virus pandemic,” added Ellis.
“But it just puts into perspective of how privileged we are representing our country day in and day out as we are putting smile on the faces on those who could be going through a very tough time.
“Despite being locked down by the corona virus, the memories of 2019 in France will never fade, and it is those moments that give us hope that we shall overcome this pandemic and go back to what we are good at,” concluded the Banyana mentor.
By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi