JOHANNESBURG - After bagging all the spoils from their last two encounters against Madagascar and Botswana in the ongoing Cosafa Women’s Championship, now all Banyana Banyana have to do is get a draw against Malawi tomorrow (3.30pm kick-off) at Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
A draw, or better yet a win, is the only way to ensure Banyana top Group A and book themselves a spot in the semi-finals. Failing which, they’ll bank on being the best runners-up as their group is still wide open.
Thus, coach Desiree Ellis is adamant that there are no pushovers in their group. “I think getting six points in the group so far is great because it’s not an easy group at all,’’ she said. “Hence, you’ve got to be on top of your game all the time. We’ll have to embrace the moment of coming this far in the competition because we fought hard against Botswana.”
Between Banyana, Malawi and Botswana, any team can still make it to the last four. What will be crucial for either side though is to make the most of tomorrow’s encounters and also ensure that they take their chances in front of goal as the goal difference rule could also play a part.
Although Malawi and Botswana have to make sure that they win their games, Bafana’s failure to take their chances up front has also been a worrying factor. However, the 55-year-old Ellis is confident that since the opposition shot-stoppers were voted as stand out players in their last two encounters, that shows that they are creating chances, which will eventually yield results.
“It’s the second time now that the goalkeeper walks away with the lady of the match award, and this shows that we were really pushing to get the victory,’’ Ellis said. “But like I said, we learned from last year’s Cosafa and this team never gives up. We created chances, right until the end, and when you continue with that, eventually one will go in.’’
After two games, this is how things stand in Group A. Tomorrow @Banyana_Banyana face Malawi at the Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth in the last match of the group stages. In the other match Botswana takes on Madagascar. Kickoff is at 3pm @SAFA_net @COSAFAMEDIA @SasolLeague pic.twitter.com/564UFiXdTd— Banyana_Banyana (@Banyana_Banyana) September 16, 2018
Port Elizabeth, where the regional tournament is held, has lived up to its ‘windy’ description so far, and according to Ellis, that has made it difficult for her team to bring their A-game.
“Sometimes it’s not about playing good football, as long as you manage to grind out the victory especially against the elements such as the wind. And I think that shows the mentality of the team, which is important going forward. Even when we missed chances, I told the players not to become desperate but they should continue to play and the goal would come.’’
Ellis goes into tomorrow’s encounter with a huge boost following the appearance Bayna's star of US-based trio on Friday, as Janine van Wyk led the team, while Linda Motlhalo and Thembi Kgatlana started from the bench.
However, Jermaine Seoposenwe has been a source of inspiration for the South Africans so far as she got the two assists and the winning goal in the first and second match respectively.
“They came in and gave the game some speed,’’ she insisted. “We would have wanted to start them but we have to take care of them. They’ve travelled a few times, so it was important that we manage the jet-lag.’’