With long hours of traveling, particularly for players who joined the team from overseas countries, Banyana Banyana coach Desiree says it was important to ensure she manages the team well to get them ready for the Aisha Buhari Cup in Nigeria.
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The locally based players landed in Nigeria on Monday, with the rest of the players joining up later on Tuesday. And now with their first game against Ghana at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena on Friday, Ellis says light training sessions were vital for the players.
“Look, today (Tuesday) because it was a long trip, we are looking to loosen up a bit, but also have a bit of football training. We are just monitoring (the players) especially players who arrived late and had long travels. Which means they had a long travel fatigue, we have to manage that. I am sure they are all looking forward to getting back on the field, but we have to manage that and make sure we take care of that,” said the Banyana mentor.
“We have to make sure that we do a lot of coordination, a lot of stretches, just making sure that players are taken care of because we need to get the best out of them. They have been part of the set-up before, we all know the drill.”
Meanwhile, Nigerian Football Federation COO Aisha Falode, has described the tournament as big and says they are happy Banyana are part of the competition.
“This competition will include all the top women’s teams in Africa; Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Morocco, Mali and South Africa. It is a high level competition that will count in the Fifa rankings,” said Aisha.
“This is a big competition for women’s football ahead of the Awcon qualifiers and through this competition we hope we can raise awareness with challenges affecting women, like Gender based violence and equality. We are very happy to have South Africa as one of the teams and we look forward to the commencement of the games,’’ concluded Aisha.
After the Ghana game, Banyana will play hosts Nigeria on Tuesday, 21 September.