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Ellis calls on Banyana to make their mark

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Statistics show that though Banyana scored 14 goals after three Group A matches, there were far too many goals left out on the field in each of the three games.

Desiree Ellis said the two-day break has given the technical staff adequate time to prepare the players for the semi-final against Malawi. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu, BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Banyana Banyana’s dismal conversion rate is cause for concern for the team’s technical staff ahead of Thursday’s Cosafa Women’s Challenge semi-final against Malawi at the Wolfson Stadium, in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Statistics show that Banyana scored 14 goals after three Group A matches, but the team fashioned at least 24 goalscoring chances each time out. There were far too many goals left out on the field in each of the three games.

Malawi have been watertight in defence and like Banyana, have qualified for the play-offs without conceding a goal in group matches. This feat has not escaped the attention of Banyana coach Desiree Ellis.

“We may have only one or two chances, and then we have to be clinical in front of goal,” said Ellis.

“This will be a different game for us because our opponents Malawi will be a real test. They score goals, and they do not concede goals.

“They have the Chawinga sisters (Tabitha and Temwa), and the two of them have raised the level of the team. It is something we’ll analyse and then put plans in place for Malawi.

“We will have to stay focused for the duration of the game. We cannot allow a lull to set into our game.”

Ellis said the two-day break has given the technical staff adequate time to prepare the players for the semi-final.

“Once we as coaches have done our job, it is up to the players. It all depends how badly they want it,” said Ellis.

“I have challenged the players to make their mark each time they play for South Africa. This is their chance to make sure people will remember them for their contributions and impact on the national team.

“By the time we played Comoros, we had already qualified for the semi-finals, but I asked players to show what they can do at this level.

“Sibulele Holweni grabbed her chance and came away with five goals. Here is a player who is usually at left-back or playing in a defensive midfield position but look how she excelled when moving into the attack.”

In the other semi-final, Zambia will play Botswana in the curtain-raiser. Botswana are undefeated and have also not yet conceded a goal at the 2020 showpiece.

@Herman_Gibbs