Banyana coach Desiree Ellis hopes her charges will have hunger in Cosafa semi-final
Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis says her troops need to display real hunger to win when they face Malawi in the semifinals of the Cosafa Women’s Championship at the Wolfson Stadium‚ in Kwazakhele‚ Port Elizabeth‚ on Thursday (3.30pm).
SA know that a win against Malawi will see them take one step closer to achieving their goal of clinching a fourth consecutive Cosafa Women’s Championship title.
Banyana will go into Thursday’s match oozing with confidence after their 7-0 win against Comoros in the group stage on Monday.
But coach Ellis said her players need to remain vigilant and turn up the heat against a dangerously strong Malawi side.
“It’s a knockout game . . . there are no second chances. So you have to make sure that you execute your plans‚” Ellis‚ 57‚ said.
“If we don’t concede like I always say‚ we have an opportunity to win the game because we will always create opportunities.
“Monday was a good chance to see opportunities being taken even though we missed some.
“We might get one or two chances in this game and we have to be really clinical in front of goal.
“The semi-finals are a different ball game all together. It becomes tougher.
“You have to stay focused for the duration of the game and make sure that you execute your plans.
“It’s how badly the players want it as well. We have a new group here and I have challenged them to make new memories and to make their mark‚” she said.
Ellis is aware that to achieve a victory on Thursday she will have to come up with a plan to tame Malawi’s lethal striking combination in the Chawinga sisters‚ Tabitha and Temwa‚ if they want to keep their hopes of a seventh title alive.
Tabitha scored six goals as Malawi thrashed Lesotho 9-0‚ while Temwa scored the winning goal on Monday which saw Malawi beat Zambia 1-0 to earn top spot in Group B.
“The Chawinga sisters have really raised the level of their team. We will obviously analyse and put plans in place and work on those plans and then it’s up to the players to execute those plans‚” she said.
The coach said she had played her entire squad in the group stages and was aware of what each player could contribute.
This will be of great help in picking the strongest team for Thursday’s mission.
“Before we played Comoros we knew already that we had qualified for the semifinals but it was another opportunity for the players to raise their hands and I thought Sibulele Holweni did exceptional well on Monday in scoring five fantastic goals.”
In the other semifinal‚ Botswana are appearing at this stage of the competition for the second time running and will take on Zambia (12.30pm).
It is a repeat of the 2019 semi-final where Zambia ran out handsome 4-0 winners‚ but The Mares will believe they have improved markedly since that game and will be confident of a much closer tie.
Olympics-bound Zambia have powerhouse forward Barbra Banda in their side though and unless Botswana can get to grips with her‚ it could be a long afternoon.
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