Desiree Ellis coach and her players during Banyana Banyana training session. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Despite thrashing Malawi 6-0 in the last round robin match of the Cosafa Women’s Championship and qualifying for the semi-finals, Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis is adamant that there’s still room for improvement.

Banyana kept their regional title defence chance alive as they won all their group matches against Madagascar (2-1), Botswana (1-0) and Malawi (6-0).

“We didn’t start the tournament well in terms of the way that we wanted to play,” Ellis said. “But we always knew that we had a performance like this, hence we kept working in training. 

I am very happy with how we played but I always think that there’s always a room for improvement.’’

Ellis has given a chance to almost all her players. However, it was the participation of US-based trio Janine van Wyk, Linda Motlhalo and Thembi Kgatlana that stole the spotlight on Monday. Motlhalo bagged her first hat-trick in Banyana colours against Malawi.

“When you come to a tournament with a squad, and don’t play everyone, that doesn’t make sense,” Ellis said. “We want that we play everyone so that we can also see if the players can go one level up.

It’s important to give players an opportunity because you never know what can happen in the tournament where you can need each and every player, as that even makes our pool even bigger.”

The Malawi encounter saw Van Wyk make history as she become the first national team player, both female and male, to reached the 150th cap. Van Wyk has been a fixture for the national team since 2005, and she led the national team during the Olympic Games in 2012 and 2016.

Banyana’s next assignment will be in the last four tomorrow against invited participants Uganda, who are ranked 22nd in Caf.



The Star

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