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Ellis: It Will Take Time To Sink In

  • April 10, 2024
  • 3 min read
Ellis: It Will Take Time To Sink In

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis appeared like someone who wanted to be swallowed by the soil due to extreme disappointment as her side could not overturn the 1-0 deficit against Nigeria in the last round of the CAF Olympic qualifying game at Loftus Stadium on Tuesday.  

It was painful not only to Ellis but to the players as well, who slumped to the turf reeling with a huge opportunity missed, having made huge steps in the past three years by winning the WAFCON in 2022 and reaching the World Cup round of 16 in New Zealand and Australia last year, the first time they did so.  

It was another miss for Banyana, who also failed to qualify for the Olympic Games four years ago that we held in Tokyo. 

“Look, it is a huge disappointment not for us but for everyone involved in women’s football because we didn’t go in 2020 (delayed in 2021 due to Covid),” replied Ellis to Sportswire whose disappointment was clear in her face as she took an early pause. 

“Similar situation where we had so many chances to (qualify previously) but we didn’t go to the next round. Likewise, we didn’t go to the Olympics because of this. It will take a while from us to recover from this.” 

As Nigeria won, they are back in the multi-sports event for the first time since 2008 and their progression meant that Banyana are yet to beat the Super Falcons in South Africa.  

“We knew that coming to this game we needed to score,” added the CAF Women’s Coach of The Year 2023. 

“We also knew that we needed to score as early as possible because the longer the game went on, the more desperate we became. 

“We didn’t start well; we changed the formations slightly because we needed to score. We went with three upfronts; they got the chance very early on and I think that was the only chance they had in the half.  

“But we didn’t go forward as much as we wanted to in the first half. We made a couple of changes in the second half; we threw the kitchen sink at them and unfortunately, that elusive goal didn’t go in and for that reason, we are very disappointed.  

“We also know that fans are disappointed, but I think we can be very proud of this team. I think we gave our best shot, but they were very resolute in that, and we just couldn’t get that one goal.”  

As Nigeria has now qualified for the Paris Olympic Games in July and August, this means Group C has been completed which includes World Cup champions Spain, Japan, and Brazil. 

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