Coach Desiree Ellis hopes that a visit to the Eiffel Tower will “rejuvenate” Banyana Banyana when they take on China in a must-win Women’s World Cup clash on Thursday.
The South African ladies lost their tournament opener 3-1 against Spain on Saturday, despite taking the lead through a sensational long-range strike by Thembi Kgatlana.
They enjoyed a breather from training on Tuesday to take in the sights and sounds of Paris, including the world-renowned Eiffel Tower, ahead of Thursday’s encounter with China at the Parc des Princes (9pm SA time kickoff).
“We are in the middle of competition, but at times you need to give the players a break so they let their hair down and recharge their batteries,” Ellis told the Safa website.
“And what better way to do it than to visit this famous place, where most of them have only seen it on television. The joy on their faces when we arrived there said a lot, and you could see they were clearly enjoying themselves.
“But after that it’s back to the grind to prepare for a very crucial game where we need a win at all costs, bearing in mind that we lost our first match at the tournament.
“I am just hopeful the visit will rejuvenate them and will inspire them to work even harder for the upcoming challenge.”
A quick visit to one of France's well known landmarks, the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Vive le France! 🇨🇵🇨🇵@FIFAWWC #DareToShine #fifawwc #BanyanaBanyana #LeMomentDeBriller @SAFA_net @bafana_bafana pic.twitter.com/rgHAbCU2zT— Banyana_Banyana (@Banyana_Banyana) June 11, 2019
Banyana will be without left back Nothando Vilakazi, who was sent off against Spain. Ellis said that she is still undecided about the replacement.
“Having seen videos of China, there may be some changes to the team, which I believe will give us the desired results because we are all aware that a loss against China will mean we are out of the tournament,” Ellis said.
“With two training sessions left, we will try out a few combinations and whoever raises their hand will get the nod. But we already have someone in mind that can jump into the position.
“This is a must-win for us, and with a settled back-four, we are positive that we could compete.”