Ellis: First goal so important against Super Falcons

Ellis: First goal so important against Super Falcons
Desiree Ellis, coach of South Africa talking to players during the 2024 Olympics Qualifiers match between Nigeria and South Africa at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja on the 05 April 2024 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by Staff Reporter

Monday Apr 08, 2024. 13:36

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has stressed the importance of scoring first as they look to overturn a 1-0 deficit against Nigeria at Loftus Versfeld on Tuesday, April 9 for a place at the 2024 Olympic Games.


Kick-off is at 7.30pm CAT (SA, GMT+2)


It took a penalty from Obusayo Ojibade in the 42nd minute to separate the two teams in the first leg of their fourth-round qualifier at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta on Friday, April 5.


Ellis was unhappy with the performance of her players in the first half as they left too many gaps in midfield and tried the long ball on too many occasions, while she felt that the long grass on the pitch hindered their passing style.


But the reigning four-time CAF Women’s Coach of the Year is confident that the African champions can turn things around in Pretoria by taking the game to the Super Falcons and shutting them out.


“We have to look at the footage to see how we can rectify things and how we can be better. We need to score, but we need to be aware to not concede and make sure that we score first to get the game back on at even,” she said.


“It’s now up to us to take the game to them and make sure that we score and also make sure that we are settled in defence and we don’t concede.


“They don’t have to come. They can sit back, but the onus is on us. We are going back to familiar surroundings and we hope to take the game to them.”


However, Nigeria coach Randy Waldrum insists they have no intention of sitting back as his players want to show why they’re ranked the best team in Africa.


“We don’t want to go there to sit, try to defend and hold on to this victory,” he said. “We want to show we’re the best team in Africa and that we’re a better team.


“I thought we showed that in the first leg and want to do that again when we play South Africa next week.


“I thought we were a bit unfortunate not to have at least two of three goals victory but I think the team played well. I thought we were good defensively considering we had some new players at the back.”


Asisat Oshoala was conspicuous in her absence in the first leg, but Waldrum explained his decision to leave her out and revealed the 2023 African Women’s Footballer of the Year could return for the Olympics decider.


“Asisat just arrived in camp and obviously visibly she looks tired from the long travels she had. This explains why I didn’t feature her in the game,” he stated.


“I will assess her fitness level to be able to decide if she will feature in the reverse fixture next week in South Africa.”







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