Banyana to make away-goal rule count in second leg against Burkina Faso

FILE - Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis. Photo: Nigel Keene/ProSportsImages/DPPI via AFP

FILE - Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis. Photo: Nigel Keene/ProSportsImages/DPPI via AFP

Published Dec 2, 2023


Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis has set out her plans to capitalise on the all-important away goal her side managed in the first leg of their Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) qualifier against Burkina Faso.

The South African Women’s senior side surrendered a second-half lead to draw level with Burkina Faso in the first instalment of the fixture, with the return leg set to take centre stage next week.

Banyana will play host to Burkina Faso at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Monday at 3pm, looking to complete the job and be well on their way to defending their crown next year.

The 2024 Wafcon will be hosted by Morocco for the second edition in a row.

Ellis managed scorching hot conditions in Burkina Faso and was missing some key players, but presented a motivated figure after the match.

The 60-year-old mentor admitted disappointment but expressed the importance of her side making the most of Hildah Magaia’s solitary strike.

“I think we’re very disappointed with the results because we feel we could have gotten a better result,” she told Safa Media.

“But it’s all to play for back at home. An away goal was always going to be the crucial goal. The next one becomes the important goal or whoever takes the lead (in the second leg) because the away goal means nothing if we concede first.”

Among those missing for Ellis’s side was the influence of utility forward Jermaine Seoposenwe, who will only join the camp ahead of the second leg in Pretoria.

Ellis detailed how important her return would be for the overall complexion of the squad as well as helping the team function better.

“I think we all know what Jermaine brings to the team. She brings energy and she brings that mentality, so that lifts everybody and that’s really important. But we’ve got to be better (as a team). We’ve made mistakes and we have to minimise those mistakes.”

One of the highlights of the first leg was veteran defender Janine van Wyk equalling the record for most capped male/female African footballer of all time, even though it lasted 40 minutes.

The 36-year-old expressed her joy at reaching that historic landmark but wasn’t pleased with the overall result on the day.

“It’s good that we scored a goal and unfortunate that we conceded one. That’s not what we wanted, but now they are coming to South Africa where we are strong in our game and have supporters behind us,” Van Wyk said after the match.

She added: “I’m happy the coaching staff gave me an opportunity to step onto the field and grateful to my teammates supporting me. It’s 184 caps and one to go.

“I’m happy to be with the team. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the result we came for, but we have one leg to go which I’m sure will be a positive one.”

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