Banyana-Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis has revealed that the team drew inspiration from the Springboks ahead of their second round second leg CAF Women’s 2024 Paris Olympics qualifier against the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Captain Thembi Kgatlana scored a second half brace as Banyana won the match 2-0, 3-1 on aggregate on Monday in Soweto to progress to the third round, after the first leg finished 1-1 in Kinshasa last week.
The two-legged encounter had coach Ellis fielding a new backline due to the unavailability of some senior players owing to injuries, exams and permit challenges to some players based overseas. She was impressed with how the ladies performed, saying they are also creating competition.
The African Champions have been to two Olympic Games in 2012 and 2016 however missed out on the last event in Tokyo after being eliminated by Botswana in the qualifying rounds.
The three CAF Women coach of the year said after the win in Orlando that the team watched the Boks clinch their fourth World title against New Zealand to draw inspiration for their match against the DRC.
“We decided to watch the Springboks, we were sitting in the meeting room with a big screen and we decided to watch the Springboks,” said Ellis.
“We were even standing up and singing the national anthem. I think Kaylin came to me afterwards and said coach this was really good, we are ready. So we decided to sit and watch the game and support the Springboks. And I think that’s a little bit where my voice has gone to as well because those last couple of minutes we were not watching anymore we were walking around but the inspiration that they bring.”
“I mean they put their bodies on the line. They surely knew who they were playing for, the people back home and we do the same. We know the people back home are really important, the people back home, they really support us and we were really happy that the fans came in their numbers to support us because when the team needed a little bit of a lift, they started singing and they started supporting the team. So that’s really important.”
Banyana will face the winner of the second round tie between Tanzania and Botswana in the third round next February.