Forget favourites tag – SA coach Ellis

Forget favourites tag – SA coach Ellis
Desiree Ellis, coach of South Africa during the Women’s Africa Cup Of Nations 2022 South Africa Press Conference at Mohammed VI Complex, Rabat on 03 July 2022 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by Staff Reporter

Monday Jul 04, 2022. 11:00

South Africa coach Desiree Ellis has warned her team to forget their tag as one of the 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations (WAFCON) favourites.

Banyana Banyana, who have been WAFCON runners-up five times – including at the last edition in Ghana in 2018 – are tipped to finally break their trophy drought at senior continental level for this tournament in Morocco.

They will get their campaign underway on Monday evening when they face Group C rivals, and reigning champions, Nigeria in Rabat.

“The team has grown a lot since the last edition,” Ellis told Sowetan Live. “It would be naive of us to go to a tournament and not set a goal of winning it… we know we are one of the favourites.

“We’ve been runners-up five times, so we’re favourites but that doesn’t mean we must think it’ll be easy for us.

“We can’t go there and underestimate opponents. We have debutants in our group in Botswana [who beat them in the Olympic qualifiers in 2019] and Burundi.

“They’re both good countries who can beat any team, so I will continue to stress to the players that nothing will be easy. Burundi beat Tanzania [in the qualifiers]… Senegal beat Mali recently.”

The Banyana coach is expecting a close contest against the Super Falcons in their opener later today. SA notably defeated Nigeria 4-2 in the Aisha Buhari Cup final in September last year and Ellis is hopeful this will give her team an edge.

“The first thing we must do is to avoid conceding because we’re always going to create chances. It’s going to be a very tight battle. The Aisha Cup showed we have quality but we’ve been lacking the consistency and Nigeria have always had that consistency,” said Ellis.

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