After defeating Nigeria in their own backyard to lift the Aisha Buhari Cup a week ago, Banyana Banyana will return to local action to defend their Cosafa Women’s title.
THE DARLINGS of South African football, Banyana Banyana will return to local action after defeating the might of African women’s football Nigeria in their backyard just over a week ago.
Banyana Banyana will run out in Nelson Mandela Bay on Tuesday against Malawi to mark the start of the 2021 COSAFA Women’s Championships. The team will be chasing an unprecedented fifth title in a row in the tournament that ends on Saturday, October 9.
Banyana Banyana is one of 12 teams taking part and will campaign in Group A along with Malawi, Angola and Mozambique. There are three groups of four teams each.
The three group winners advance to the semi-finals They will be joined by the best-placed runner-up, who will play the Group A winner.
Most of the overseas-based players who helped Bafana Bafana defeat Nigeria will not be available. However, veteran defender Janine van Wyk will be available.
As always, the COSAFA tournament has given national team coach Desiree Ellis a chance to blood new talent.
“Tuesday is a new focus, it is the COSAFA Women’s Championship,” said Ellis, adding that the regional tournament has done much to help her groom players for international football.
“We will take the lessons we have learnt in Nigeria, to help grow that (new) group again.
“We showed at last year’s COSAFA that the players that have come through needed to be tested.
“I was very excited for the players that we have coming through to play COSAFA.”
After the match against Malawi, Banyana Banyana tackle Angola on Friday. They play their final group match next Monday, against Mozambique.
They will also play Mozambique in the first-round qualifiers for the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, next month.
In Tuesday’s other Group A match, Angola will play Mozambique.