Awcon 2018: South Africa to go all out for Zambia, coach Ellis declares

The Banyana Banyana boss looks ahead to Saturday’s fixture against the Shepolopolo in Accra

South Africa coach Desiree Ellis says her outfit are not going to drop down their firepower in the last group game of the ongoing Africa Women Cup of Nations against Zambia on Saturday, despite requiring just a point to make it to the next round.

The Banyana Banyana are in pole position to maintain their top status in Group B, having beaten Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea 1-0 and 7-1 respectively in their opening two games.

It will be their first match in Accra, Ghana, having played thus far in Cape Coast.

“We’ve been here [in Accra] before - when we played Ghana [in a pre-tournament friendly],” Ellis said at the pre-match conference on Friday.

“This next game is very important for us because we want to stay top of the group. It’s not going to be an easy match because we know Zambia are also in it. But we just need to make sure we execute our plans really well and we’ll get the positive result that we want.

“We have to go for a win. I’m a huge Manchester United fan and I remember a few years ago, they played Porto at Old Trafford and our very own Benni McCarthy ensured that they [Porto] got a win right at the end when United played for a draw. So it’s very dangerous to play for a draw.”

A semi-final place will take Banyana a step closer to not just the trophy but also qualification for next year’s Fifa Women’s World Cup. The top three teams at Ghana 2018 will represent Africa at the world championship.

“We want to have our destiny in our own hands and not want to use the calculators and the permutations to get us there,” Ellis added.

“We know the task ahead of us. It’s a big one, but we’re confident and capable of getting the three points. And we will go for a win in this match because then, we don’t have to worry about anything else.

“There are still no easy games, but being on top of the group gives you a lot of confidence, momentum and winning feeling. And we want to keep the team’s focus on our goal which is to qualify for the World Cup.”

For midfielder Leandra Smeda, South Africa know just what to expect from Zambia, who are in dire need of three points to stand a good chance of making the next round.

“The spirit in the team is high,” said the Gintra Universitetas ace.

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“We’re confident but we know the next game is going to be a tough game. We’ve played Zambia before, so we know what to expect from them.

“We know they’re going to come out wanting to win. But we just need to stay focused on the goal.”

South Africa finished fourth at the last Awcon in Cameroon two years ago.

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