Home Sport ‘Banyana Banyana showed a lot of character’, says coach

‘Banyana Banyana showed a lot of character’, says coach

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Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis acknowledged his side’s wastefulness in front of goal but had high praises for their character and ability to fight through the toughest periods of the match.

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis celebrates with her players after reaching the Wafcon semi-finals and booking their place in 2023 World Cup. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky, BackpagePix

Durban – Banyana Banyana secured their place at the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand with a slim victory over Tunisia in the Women’s African Cup of Nations quarter finals.

South Africa were clearly above their opponents in terms of class and quality but a slight sneak of nerves and some unconvincing finishing could’ve turned the tide on Head Coach Desiree Ellis’ side.

The 59-year-old acknowledged her side’s wastefulness in front of goal but had high praises for her side’s character and ability to fight through the toughest periods of the match.

“I thought we started very well but then we stopped. We kept creating chances and as the game went on, the players felt pressure and we tried to calm them down. We made some team mistakes. We had so many chances that we could have just knocked in and we didn’t do that,” she said.

“They were so clear cut but at the end of the day, we showed a lot of character. But hey, we are going to the World Cup!”

Banyana will next tackle southern African rivals Zambia in the semi-final as both sides look to make a huge step towards lifting the trophy with Nigeria and hosts Morocco also waiting in the wings.

Ellis expressed how much of a positive psychological influence securing their place at the World Cup as that was their first priority heading into the tournament.

“Now that we have qualified, the players will have no pressure because you know when you lose here, you have to go the other route and you do not want to go that route,” she explained.

“Ultimately, we are now going to the World Cup. That pressure is now off their shoulders and now they can prepare for the next game.”

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