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Ellis: We Are Still In It

  • April 6, 2024
  • 2 min read
Ellis: We Are Still In It

Banyana head coach, Desiree Ellis, attributed the loss to a lack of speed in their game and the distance between her players in the first half, which led to her tactics being defective. 

Banyana was edged by the Super Falcons on the first leg of the fourth and final round of the Olympic Games qualifications for the women’s tournament in France. 

The game ended 1-0 to Nigeria’s advantage in MKO Abiola Stadium after Ajibade Busayo converted a penalty spot in the nick of time before halftime. 

“We just didn’t move the ball around as quickly as we wanted in the first half, we also played too far from each other and that’s why we couldn’t play what we wanted to play,” said Ellis. 

“We said if we speed up the game, we create more chances and more spaces (things would have been better). But from the start of the second half we were playing and creating chances,” added the coach. 

Despite Friday’s negative result, the team is holding its breath and confident that they will turn the game around on the return fixture when they play at Loftus Stadium on Tuesday. 

“There is still one more leg and on the Olympic qualifiers there is no away goal rule. It’s 1-0 for Nigeria but they still must come to South Africa. In the end, the result will be on Tuesday,” said vice-captain Thembi Kgatlana. 

Banyana will still look to clip the Super Falcon’s wings in the hope of one of the two slots available for Africa in the 12-team tournament when they return for the second leg in a match.  

“It’s results over two games. We feel we are still in the game, the penalty decided the match, and it’s not over. We will take it back to Pretoria,” said Banyana’s coach. 

The victor of the match between South Africa and Nigeria will be placed in Group C, along with Japan, Brazil, and world champions Spain. 

Morocco and Zambia will compete for the remaining African spot in Paris 2024, with the winner joining the four-time world champions USA, Australia, and Germany in their group. 

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Nkanyiso Mchunu

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