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Ellis Counts On Experienced Players

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis is counting on experienced players to lead the young stars at the Cosafa Women’s Championship in Gqeberha.

The Cape Town-born coach has named her final 20-woman squad to participate in the tournament, including Captain Janine Van Wyk, Bambanani Mbane, Melinda Kgadiete and Roda Mulaudzi as senior players.

Ellis’ women run out winners after defeating Nigeria 4-2 in their backyard one week ago in the Aisha Buhari Cup.

Banyana Banyana will now face Malawi at Nelson Mandela Bay at 15:30 in the first game of the Cosafa Cup.

“From last year’s squad we have only eight players left, but we have a lot of experience that have come back as well in the likes of Janine and Bambanani, so that is really encouraging for us, Malenda also returning again after 2018 being part of the squad,” said Ellis.

“So we have a lot of players that have got experience, but we also have a lot of new players, so we try to when we play we treat a game completely as something different.

“We talk about celebrating the moment and once the moment is gone, we focus on the next task because it’s a process. The Buhari Cup is behind us, we went there wanted to test ourselves; really tested ourselves this is our new ball game.”

Ellis, though, says that they are expecting a tough game against Malawi as they know how strong they are.

“We know what we have achieved at the Buhari, but we also know that the first game of any tournament is very vital. We have played Malawi in 2018, we have played them in 2019, we have played them in 2020, so yes they have a new coach and I assume that they will play similarly from last year’s squad,” she added.

“They have nine players from last year’s squad, only the Chawinga sisters are not here because it’s a none FIFA date, but they are very strong squad, in 2019 we came from behind, we were 1-0 down.

“So we know it’s going to be a tough game, but if we execute our plans and do not concede we always have a chance, but we need to stay focus on the task as a first game and make sure we stay focus, execute the plan that is what about, and it’s a one game at a time.”

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