Desiree Ellis challenges Banyana Banyana to score that next goal

South African senior national women's football team coach Desiree Ellis is seen during a training at Highlands Park in Johannesburg

Banyana will have no time to soak in their achievement as coach Desiree Ellis is already looking ahead to the second leg of their Olympic qualifier against Tanzania on Tuesday. Picture: Michele Spatari/AFP

Published Feb 25, 2024


It’s time for Banyana Banyana to reset and not wallow too much in the sense of achievement in the aftermath of their 3-0 win over the ‘Twigas stars’ of Tanzania on Friday.

That was the post-match message from Banyana coach Desiree Ellis after her side triumphed in the first leg of the CAF Women’s Olympic third round qualifier at the Azam Sports Complex in Dar es Salaam.

To progress to the final round of qualifying, Banyana must close out an aggregate win on Tuesday when the second leg is played at the Mbombela Stadium.

“It was always about us first. We must finish the job back home,” said Ellis. “We don’t want to become complacent after the 3-0 win. Some people will say it’s a score that wins you the tie. However, the next goal in the (next) match could change things. We have to make sure that we score the next goal.

‘Still have a job to do’

“Once that is done, we will have to deal with what is in front of us, be it Nigeria or Cameroon.

“But we still have a job to do, and won’t get ahead of ourselves.

“We want to make sure we finish the job and then concentrate on who we will play. We’ll then work out how we will plan for that match.”

Ellis said it was a concern that the team had not played matches this year. Also, the local women’s league was not yet under way.

“We were a bit rusty at the start, but it was expected. We have not played a match this year,” said Ellis.

“We had a week of training last week, but it is always different in a competitive game, and we scored the goals. I thought it went much better in the second half. We rotated the ball around a lot … We created more opportunities to score.

“I’m happy with the result, but I know we can play much better. (This performance) is encouraging and we can get better from here onwards.

“The (domestic) league hasn’t started. It was expected that we might struggle a bit and be rusty.

“We were playing against a Tanzanian team that had mostly local players. They have already played 10 league matches in their domestic season.

“For our effort, hats off to our players. It was a big effort which gave us the result we wanted.”

IOL Sport