Nigeria vs South Africa: Banyana-Banyana Are Ready To Get Positive Result Against Super Falcons – Desiree Ellis
The 2022 Women’s African Cup of Nations kicks off in Morocco today Saturday, July 2nd, but the main attention has been on the defending champions, the Super Falcons of Nigeria, and the Banyana-Banyana of South Africa.
This is no doubt due to the recent shift in paradigms between the two female football national teams.
Nigeria have dominated female football for so long in Africa, winning record nine WAFCON titles, and Equatorial Guinea, the other country that has won two other editions. South Africa are yet to clinch the title despite reaching the finals five times, losing the most recent one to Nigeria, 4-3 on penalties.
But prior to the 2018 final, the Banyana Banyana defeated the Super Falcons 1-0 in the group stage, and also beat the Nigerian ladies in the final of the Aisha Buhari cup in Abuja in 2021. These two positive results against Nigeria have now made South Africa a favorite for this year’s edition of the WAFCON.
Speaking about her team’s preparation ahead of July 4th clash against their rivals, Nigeria, the five-time WAFCON finalists’ Head coach, Desiree Ellis is optimistic, saying that, though they are not going to dwell on their recent results against the falcons, which have shown what they are capable of doing, rather, they have stepped up their preparation even higher than the Nigerians to ensure they get a positive result.
In her words, “2018 has shown us what we are capable of doing, but history means nothing. So we really have to go out there and do the job because the objective Is to qualify for the world cup and, also get the gold medal. Look, history has shown us that we can play against the best and beat the best, but history doesn’t make you win games, we were really planning well in the next couple of days and put the plan in place, but I think that could be difficult a bit because the players are the ones to execute the plans. We know it’s not going to be an easy game, Nigeria, a multiple defending champions, we know they are going to come out all-gang blazing, they are a quality side, and you know, we need to step up higher than they step up to get a positive result.”
Reacting to the newly re-elected SAFA president, Danny Jordan’s promise of R9.2m prize money, if the Banyana-Banyana are able to dethrone Nigeria and clinch the 2022 WAFCON title.
Ellis said, though it’s a good motivation, the task at hand is Nigeria, and they are focused to ensure they get a positive result against the defending champions. In her words,
“A very good incentive, the players are motivated, they are ready to go, they’ve really worked hard. So getting an incentive like that just makes them get even more motivated, but you know it’s all about the first game, and we are not thinking too far ahead of ourselves, we just want to make sure that we focus on the task at hand, which is the first game and the first game is Nigeria, and we want to make sure that we get positive, to make sure that it gives us momentum and give us confidence, as I said, it’s not going to be easy, the Nigerians will come out gang blazing, but the players are really ready, they are motivated, and are looking forward to the start of the tournament.”
Ellis confirms that the team is blazing with zero injuries and the best part of it is that they are 100% available. The mood is fantastic, if someone comes to training and they form a circle and started dancing, that shows that mood is fantastic, this week is very important and we are really ready,” Ellis added.