Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis says there’ll be no room for complacency from the team that will be participating at the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations that’s scheduled to be hosted in Ghana from 17 November-1 December.
Although Banyana are already busy in camp with their final preparations for the African showpiece, Ellis is expected to announce her final squad early next week. Banyana are currently high on confidence after recently defending their Cosafa Cup title in Port Elizabeth.
“It’s all about raising you hand,” Ellis said. “There are few players that didn’t make the Cosafa winning team and there are few that were there, but they are not here with us now. We want to make sure that there’s no complacency. If you (are) complacent, the tough job will be telling you didn’t make the squad. When you hadn’t made the Cosafa squad, and you went back and did some work and you came back and we see the difference now; then who are we not (to) select you?”
South Africa are in Group B alongside Nigeria, Zambia and Kenya. With the tournament consisting of eight teams _ which also includes Ghana, Cameroon, Mali and Algeria – only the top-three finishers will qualify for the 2019 World Cup that will be hosted in France. After qualifying for Awcon 2016, Banyana failed to qualify for global showpiece as they could only finish fourth in Cameroon. Ellis is convinced that her team won’t make the same mistake this time.
“The previous year that we’ve had together with its preparations does not mean success, but it helps a lot. The proper execution of our plan is the most important thing,” the 55-year-old coach said. “Playing Nigeria in the first game spices things up a bit. But we’ll be ready because when you go to a tournament, you want to win it. And we are no different, because we want to secure a spot at the World Cup.”
Vice-captain Refiloe Jane is expected to join her teammates on Tuesday. Jane recently moved to Australian outfit Canberra United together with Rhoda Mulaudzi in the W-League. The duo on debut, combined as Mulaudzi scored the opening goal – in their 2-0 win over champions Melbourne City – after being assisted by Jane. However, Ellis believes Mulaudzi needs to find more consistency before she can be considered for selection.
“(Only) Refiloe is coming back to the national team because Rhoda hasn’t played for the last four months,” Ellis said.