Banyana looks to turn up the heat in Cosafa semi

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis will field her strongest team against Zimbabwe in the Cosafa Women's Championships semi-finals on Thursday, at Wolfson Stadium.
Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis will field her strongest team against Zimbabwe in the Cosafa Women's Championships semi-finals on Thursday, at Wolfson Stadium.
Image: Werner Hills

As the Cosafa Women’s Championship turns into the home straight Banyana Banyana will look to take their performance up a notch as they strive to be crowned the best team in Southern Africa.

Banyana coach Desiree Ellis said she will field her best team against Zimbabawe in their semi-final on Thursday.

Ellis, 56 has picked a varied bunch of players since the start of the tournament which saw debutants Priscilla Pesa, Shange Sthembile and Noxolo Cesane being thrown in the deep end and tested.

“Its always good to give players an opportunity to play because this is the only way to test if they are at a higher level,” the said.

We’ll have a look at everybody’s performance and pick the strongest line-up for the next level
Banyana Banyana coach, Desiree Ellis 

“We try to keep our back line more or less the same to have that consistency with the defenders.

“Our goalkeepers we have rotated at the tournament, but it gets to the better end now and we’ll have a look at everybody’s performance and pick the strongest line-up for the next level, knowing that players have been given opportunities.

“We have also made some positional changes throughout the tournament to also look at what else players can offer because when you go to tournaments you need those multifunctional players.”

Banyana won group A by collecting nine points from their three matches.

The national women’s side made their way to the semis by thrashing Comoros 17-0 in the opening fixture on Wednesday. They went on to beat Malawi 3-1 on Friday and Madagascar 3-0 on Monday.

Speaking about the Madagascar game Ellis said: “We wanted to score early to settle down the team.

“I felt that we were in complete control of the match. They sat back very deep with the wall right at the back.

“We wanted to play the ball around and force them out.

“We also gave an opportunity to two debutants which is important for us. When we came to this competition [we wanted] to give players an opportunity but more importantly make the pool bigger.

“We have used this competition in the past for that and it has helped us to prepare for the Afcon and for the World Cup.”

The coach said her players managed the game very well and were able to conserve a lot of energy during the match but believes they could have scored more goals.

“I felt at times when we were just outside the penalty box instead of having shots on goal. We were still trying to pass the ball around and when we should have passed it around we tried to dribble it.

“So, that is still some decision-making that we still have to improve on, but I felt overall it was a dominate performance.”

Team captain Janine van Wyk has been ruled out for the entire tournament due to injury.

However, the coach says they have kept her around just to motivate the players in the last stages of the tournament.

“Janine is definitely out of the tournament, that is all I am prepared to say right now,” Ellis said.

“But just her presence I think its big for the team she is a motivating factor as well. Before the game and after she was down on the pitch.

“She is the leader of the team and we decided to keep her here to add more value and to inspire others and become a mentor.”

“Tiisetso Martha is very young and we have played her in each and every game, she is the future but we still need the experience and that two are a good combination.”

 

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