Banyana in a good mood before the match against Tunisia

Desiree Ellis says the mood at the Banyana Banyana camp is upbeat despite the challenges the team faced ahead of the quarter-final clash with Tunisia at the Women’s African Cup of Nations Caf (Wafcon).

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Banyane will have to do this job without star player Thembi Kgatlan, who is ruled out of the tournament with an ACL injury and also has multiple cases of Covid-19 on the team ahead of the Eagles of Carthage clash in Rabat, Morocco. on Thursday.

Ellis believes that when incidents like this happen, it’s just an opportunity for other players on the team to step up and get the job done.

“Everything went very well, we worked on a few things that we are going to do in the game. I was very excited to see what happened, the mood is high and the players are looking forward to the game, which is a good sign.

“The players are friends with Thembi because she has been with the team for a very long time, but there are also players who are much closer, but they responded very well. We know why we are here, the loss of Tembi was a huge blow. But we lost Gaby (Gabriela Salgado) before the tournament, but other players became more active. We know Tembi is a top quality player, but this is also an opportunity for others to shine. Other countries also lost players, Nigeria lost Assisata Oshoalu, Botswana also lost a player. So this is another opportunity for others to step up,” Banyana said.

“We know why we are here and we have reminded the players why we are here. Thembi also reminded them that the journey is still ongoing. Our first goal is to qualify for the World Cup, this game is almost on the nose.”

Coach Banyana added that her team building was based on the ability to be in such situations, and now the players need to show how versatile they are.

“We selected the composition for all occasions, we did not expect this. But now the universality has to come out, and it has to come out. But what I saw in training was very encouraging.”

The winner of this tie books a ticket to next year’s World Championships in New Zealand and Australia.