Aisha Buhari Cup: Banyana Banyana Coach Calls For Consistency

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South Africa coach Desiree Ellis was thrilled with her side’s stunning 4-2 victory over hosts Nigeria at the Aisha Buhari Cup on Tuesday, but says her Banyana Banyana side have to now prove they can beat the best on the continent on a consistent basis.

The victory followed an excellent 3-0 win over Ghana on Friday as Banyana Banyana completed a fruitful trip to West Africa, where they had some of their ace stars back in the team for the first time in almost two years as the Covid-19 pandemic had brought a virtual halt to their programme.

Banyana were 3-0 up at halftime, but then had to weather a storm early in the second period as Nigeria scored two quick goals. But Ellis’ side were able to see out the game and add a fourth goal.

“We were in control for most the game, we played at the tempo we wanted to and also made them play at the tempo we wanted them to play,” Ellis said. “We controlled all aspects of the game”.

“In the second half, we knew they would come at us, we needed to concentrate but we didn’t do that. We tried to be calm, however, the two [Nigeria] goals came quickly.”

“But the players showed a lot of confidence and character to take the game back, we made some positional and tactical changes. Then it all came together again. We managed the game very well.”

“The victory is not just for us here in Nigeria, it is for everyone back home in South Africa who have contributed to women’s football. The coaches that have put in the hard work with the players,” ellis added.

“We wanted to test ourselves, but we need to now be consistent in what we do. Nigeria have been consistent [in winning] over a number of years and we mustn’t forget they will be back.”

“They have proven over a number of years they are the best on the continent and to be put in that same bracket we need to be consistent against the better teams.” 

A largely home-based Banyana squad will now compete at the 2021 COSAFA Women’s Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay from September 28-October 9, where they hope to retain their title for the fifth year in a row.

They will  face Mozambique in the first round of the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers next month.

 

Chidi Nwoke/Supersport.

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