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Ellis – We Will Not Underestimate Any Team

Banyana Banyana Head Coach Desiree Ellis has reacted after Banyana were drawn against Mozambique in the first round of the the 2022 African Women’s Championships qualifying competition.

Ellis, speaking after the draw, says it’s exciting for her side to be back at international football  after an almost two year absence owing to the outbreak of the Coronavirus.

The first round first and second legs will be played in Mozambique and South Africa respectively between 7-15 June 2021.

Even though Banyana have played Mozambique before Ellis says her team never wants to take opponent lightly.

“We played Mozambique before but we always say we will not underestimate any team. You have two matches and if you don’t take teams seriously you end up at the back foot. We obviously played them at Cosafa Cup and that was a couple of months ago. They are a very physical side and also move the ball around quite well,” Ellis told a CAF media virtual press conference on Monday. 

A record 44 teams will take part in the qualifiers for Morocco 2022 while only 12 teams including the host nation will be at the finals and four sides will qualify for the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup in Australia.

Ellis adds that it will be important for the five time Cosafa champions to stick to what they know because she also understands the enormity of qualifying for the continental show piece.

“And to stick to what we know, that’s an important thing. We played them at Cosafa Cup 2020 with a very local based team, with the inactivity we made sure we were in a better shape. We will respect them and not take any team lightly because if you have been to the world cup once you surely want to go again.”

“We need to plan, we have a couple of international friendlies lined up so we will use that to prepare and then get the result that we want,” added the two time African woman coach of the year. 

The new format of grouping teams from the same region against one another has produced some much talked about fixtures like the one between powerhouses Nigeria and Ghana.