Jonty Mark
Football Editor
2 minute read
5 Jul 2022
11:30 am

Ellis dedicates Banyana win to a struggling nation

Jonty Mark

'The victory is for everyone back home,” said the Banyana head coach.

Desiree Ellis celebrates after Bafana's win over Nigeria on Monday. Picture: Samuel Shivambu/Backpagepix.

Desiree Ellis dedicated Banyana Banyana’s win over Nigeria to the people of South Africa, after her side stunned Nigeria in their Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) Group C opener on Monday.

ALSO READ: Brilliant Banyana stun Nigeria

The performances of the Springboks and Banyana have lifted the spirits of a nation in trying times, in the face of rolling electricity blackouts, a failing economy, and sky-rocketing petrol prices.

“The victory is for everyone back home,” said Ellis, after her side had beaten the Super Falcons 2-1 in Rabat.

“With the situation back home, there are a lot of challenges, we are trying to give hope to the country and to each and every fan who is behind Banyana.”

Ellis, meanwhile, credited her players for perfectly executing Banyana’s gameplan as well-constructed second half goals from Jermaine Seoposenwe and Hildah Magaia were enough to beat the WAFCON holders and 14-time African champions.

“The first game of a tournament is very important, what made this game bigger was that we were playing Nigeria, and we knew we needed a good start to give us confidence and mementum. The players executed the game plan to a tee,” said Ellis.

“It is a massive three points … we knew we could not physically match them, our strength was keeping the ball on the ground … the players move the ball around much better in the second half. Our pace of play and switching of the ball was much better … everyone was magnificent.”

Banyana also beat Nigeria in the opening match of the 2018 tournament and went on to lose the final to the same opponents on penalties, if they need any reminder that there is still plenty of work to be done if the five-time WAFCON runners-up are to finally win the continental crown.

“We have got to stay focused on the task at hand,” added Ellis.

“And concentrate on the next one, we cannot underestimate anyone. We must make sure we keep our humility,” added Ellis, whose side will now face Burundi tomorrow, before completing their Group C campaign against Botswana on Sunday.