Banyana Banyana will be hoping they can overcome the final hurdle when they take on hosts Zimbabwe in the final of the COSAFA Women's Championship today. Photo: @Banyana_Banyana via Twitter

BULAWAYO - Banyana Banyana will need to be switched on throughout the entire 90 minutes if they are going to come out victorious against hosts Zimbabwe in today’s Cosafa Women’s Championship final at Barbourfields Stadium, Bulawayo (Kick-off 3pm).

This is the view of Banyana captain, Refiloe Jane, who said her side could not afford to lose to the hosts in a final for the second time in a row, following a 1-0 defeat they suffered in Harare back in 2011.

Jane said that lifting the championship trophy would count as one of her memorable experiences with the national side. The central midfielder also added that the championship title would also serve as a confidence booster to Banyana's interim coache Desiree Ellis, and the players she has blooded in the tournament.

“Just looking back now, none of the matches we featured in leading up to the final were easy,” Jane said. “And we anticipated that because we knew that everybody came to this championship to win it for their respective countries. I’m just pleased that we were able to fight our way to reach the final stages of the competition. However, the job is not done as yet.

“We’ll now have to make sure that we win it.”

“Leading the team has been an interesting experience for me, though it is not an easy job for any player to have,” Jane added.

“But luckily enough though, I’m surrounded by senior players who have been just wonderful in terms of pushing the rest of the team to fight for those desired results. The new players who we have in the squad as well, have also been wonderful. They’ve been working really hard both in training and at our games, to see the team where it is now in the tournament.”

Meanwhile Ellis said that her side were well aware of Zimbabwe’ strengths and weaknesses leading up to this match, and they know how to deal with Zimbabwe’s potent striker, Rutendo Makore, to deny her any scoring chances.

“I spoke to the girls right after we reached the final and said to them that they were guaranteed a medal for just being in the final of this competition,” Ellis said.

“I then said it was up to them which medal they wanted hanging around their necks at the end of fulltime. All of them told me that they were gunning for gold in this tie and I believe that they can do it.

"We’ve also prepared well with regards to how to keep Zimbabwe quiet in our defensive third, while we give them all sorts of problems up in the final third. This is going to be an interesting match, without a doubt.”

Sunday Independent

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