South Africa coach Desiree Ellis has explained the game plan Banyana Banyana deployed to defeat Nigeria’s Super Falcons 2-1 in their Group C opener of the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations on Monday.
Going into the fixture at Stade Moulay Hassan, the Super Falcons, who are the defending champions, had been tipped to carry the day, but Banyana had different ideas as they scored two second-half goals courtesy of Jermaine Seoposenwe and Hildah Magaia.
Nigeria mounted a late rally with Rasheedat Ajibade pulling a goal back in stoppage time but it was not enough as Banyana held on to move second in the group.
“We forced them [Nigeria] to play long balls,” Ellis told reporters after the game as quoted by Completesports.
“We knew we can force them to make mistakes at the back which they did, the players deliver our plans.”
The 59-year-old Ellis further revealed the team’s ambitions to win the title and qualify for the World Cup.
“This is a very big win for us as a team. We needed to get this result because it sets the tone for the rest of the tournament,” Ellis continued. “We had a meeting before we started training to talk about our goals and ambitions.
“We want to qualify for the World Cup and win the title here. We know what happened in 2018, but we have matured over the past four years and there are changes in our team. Jermaine played about four positions today. That is the versatility we have now as a team.
“This victory is for everyone back home and for all the coaches. This is for everyone connected to women’s football back home.”
South Africa will shift their focus to the second group match where they are scheduled to take on Burundi at Moulay Hassan FUS on Thursday.
Burundi opened their campaign with a 4-2 defeat against Botswana also on Monday. The win pushed Botswana to the top of the group with three points but on goal difference since they are level on points with South Africa.