South Africa women's coach Ellis delighted by historic World Cup qualification

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The Banyana Banyana boss shed light on the implications of Tuesday's victory over Mali in the semi-final of the continental championship

South Africa coach Desiree Ellis is over the moon by their first-time qualification for the Fifa Women's World Cup.

The Banyana Banyana will be playing at the global showpiece for the first time next year following a 2-0 triumph over Mali in the semi-finals of the ongoing Africa Women Cup of Nations in Ghana.

Goals from Thembi Kgatlana and Lebogang Ramalepe at the Cape Coast Stadium confirmed the three-time Awcon losing finalists for France 2019.

"We knew that we had accomplished what we wanted to do and that's going to the World Cup," Ellis said at the post-match press conference.

"This is not about this team only. This is about all of South Africa. This is about all the coaches there before. About all the players who have been there before. It is also about the Football Association.

"We wouldn't have been anywhere if they weren't on board. They have been tremendous in the preparations we have had over a year.

"They made sure we made the best preparations possible."

With World Cup ticket firmly secured, Ellis is now turning her sights to Saturday's final, where they will come up against none other than eight-time champions Nigeria.

"We will celebrate and start preparing for the final. We are not a team that talk much in the media," said the coach.

"We will work together as a team and plan again. And hope to execute the plan because that's all it is about.

"We have never won the Women's AFCON and we are going to give it a shot and see what happens on the weekend."

Mali coach Mohamed Saloum Houssein, meanwhile, took things calmly, having already made history by guiding Les Aiglonnes to the knockout stage of the Awcon for the first time ever.

The West Africans still have a chance to secure Africa's last available World Cup ticket as victory over Cameroon in Friday's third-placed playoff will be handsomely rewarded.

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"It didn't go well as we expected this time," said Houssein. "We played against a well organised team with great strength and unfortunately we lost 2-0. We did our best but once more we played against a strong side.

"We have nothing to lose since our mission has already been accomplished and that's making it to the semi-finals for the first time.

"We are yet to play the third and fourth play off. We are hoping to see our fate in that match."
 

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