Tuesday Jul 19, 2022. 14:35
South Africa head coach Desiree Ellis lauded her team’s air-tight defence after they advanced to the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations final for the sixth time.
Banyana Banyana beat Zambia 1-0 in the semi-finals on Monday to book a date with WAFCON 2022 hosts Morocco at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium on Saturday, July 23.
Ellis’ side kept their third clean sheet in a row and have only conceded two goals in five matches during the tournament – one each against Nigeria and Burundi in the group stages.
Ellis is determined to finally bring home the trophy after the national team finished runners-up on five previous occasions and she hopes the defence will stand firm once more against the Atlas Lionesses in Rabat.
“I thought our defence was magnificent. We have managed to keep three clean sheets in a row,” she said after the clash with the Copper Queens.
“We got the penalty through VAR [against Zambia]. Match officials gave it and we put it away, but I think Zambia showed true quality.
“We wanted it very bad – in the end we won it, ticked that second box, and now we are off to the final. It was our objective to qualify for the World Cup and for this WAFCON final, and for me it is personal.”
Commenting on Monday’s performance, Ellis added: “We wanted to start by rotating the ball quickly, but it didn’t happen in the first half. Our attacking midfielders were not really available to make us play.
“It was very frustrating because we gave the ball away and got counterattacked a few times, but we stood solid.
“We then made changes in the second half – Hildah Magaia came on and gave a lot more balance, Nomvula Kgoale came on and gave us a lot with the one-twos and physical strength.
“All of a sudden we start playing and their goalkeeper got injured, and that sort of disturbed our momentum. Then Zambia got going, they had that one shot that went past the posts, but we were always in control at the back.”