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Banyana set to step up intensity

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Banyana have already qualified for the knockout stage and Monday’s match against Comoros will be their final Group A fixture.

Desiree Ellis, coach of South Africa. Picture: Muzi Ntombela, BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Banyana Banyana are injury-free after two matches and coach Desiree Ellis will have a full-strength squad to choose from for Monday’s Cosafa Women’s Championship match against Comoros at the Wolfson Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Banyana have already qualified for the knockout stage and Monday’s match against Comoros will be their final Group A fixture.

“We have six points after two games and we’re on top of the Group A standings,” said Ellis. “It has gone pretty much as expected and now we need to step up our intensity.

“There is also the all-important matter of player rotation which is vital for various reasons at a tournament like this. You want to give everyone a fair chance to impress so that they can improve their chances of selection.”

According to Ellis, the coaching and medical staff have done a superb job to keep the squad injury-free.

“The medical staff have been hard at work to help players stay injury-free,” said Ellis. “It is not an easy matter because fitness levels are generally lower than what it should be.

“We cannot cram too much work in at this stage so there has to be a balance when deciding how much time players will have in the middle. Whoever has not had game time yet, will play against Comoros. We decided that everyone in the squad must have game time.

“When deciding on the selections, we must also keep an eye on our next opponent. We don’t know who that will be, but the play-offs start on Thursday and we would like everyone in the squad to be fresh.”

Banyana are top of Group A with six points, followed by Eswatini on three and Comoros and Angola on one apiece. Eswatini play Angola in today’s other Group A match.

The final Group B and C matches will also be played today. Malawi take on Lesotho in Group B, and Botswana and Tanzania meet in Group C.

The three group winners and the best second-placed team will advance to Thursday’s semi-finals.

@Herman_Gibbs