WAFCON 2022: Beating Nigeria Was A Great Deal, Boost Our Confidence – Desiree Ellis
Banyana Banyana of South Africa head coach, Desiree Ellis, has said that the victory against the Super Falcons of Nigeria is a great deal and because it is Nigeria, it’s way bigger and a confidence booster.
South Africa beat holders Nigeria 2-1 in their opening game at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) on Monday.
Despite the victory which saw the Banyana Banyana largely control the match, coach Ellis is not getting carried away with the triumph and performance, which has been widely celebrated by their fans back home and on social media.
Reacting to the victory, Ellis said, “It feels good. We had worked really hard towards this, but we’re not going to get ahead of ourselves, because they’re still a magnificent side, and we want to get out of the group and get to the quarter-finals.”
Ellis added that the victory is a boost for them and that it gives them momentum. In her words, “It [the victory] gives a lot of momentum and that’s a boost for the rest of the tournament.”
CitySports had reported how the South African have prepared, especially for the game against the Nigerians, with Desiree stating that they’ve had to prepare harder than Nigerians are.
She added that knowing that the game is against the champions, it’s way bigger than people expected. The most celebrated women coach in Africa said, “I think it was bigger than it was made out to be because it’s Nigeria and we knew how big the game was going to be when the draw came out.”
Super Falcons of Nigeria have won the WAFCON for a record nine-time, while the Banyana Banyana are yet to win the title despite reaching the final five times.
The defending champions, Nigeria, have won the past three tournaments, with their Group C match a repeat of 2018 final in Ghana.
Monday’s victory proved to be Banyana Banyana’s second consecutive win over Nigeria in the past ten months, having shocked the nine-time champions 4-2 in the Aisha Buhari Invitational Cup held in Lagos in 2021.
Ellis added that the result in Nigeria last September gave them confidence heading into their WAFCON meeting and set the tone for their approach in Rabat and if her players keep bringing such performance, they can do better.
In her words, “We brought an even better performance this time around, kept showing what is possible, what we can do if players bring a similar performance.”