Desiree Ellis disappointed by WAFCON postponement

Desiree Ellis disappointed by WAFCON postponement

Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis has expressed her disappointment after CAF announced that the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) has been postponed by a year and will now take place in July 2025.

Initially, the tournament was set to be staged next month but the date has been allocated to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games – with two African teams taking part – Zambia and Nigeria.

South Africa are the defending champions of the WAFCON after winning the continental title in 2022 in Morocco.

Speaking exclusively to SABC Sport, Ellis, however, says the postponement may help them plan thoroughly.

"It's a bit disappointing that it's not happening this year but it's also great that you know now when it's happening and it obviously gives you more time to prepare but also to have a look at other players,” Ellis said.

“The new cycle started last year to the World Cup but of course, because you still had Olympics that you still needed to try to qualify for, you still needed players. You also had to look at not just for next year's WAFCON but you also have to build towards 2026 when there is a qualifying tournament again to qualify for the World Cup.

“So, you have to get players ready but for me, it's always been about if you are good enough, you are old enough. For me, it's always been the player can still add value and we will leave the door open until the last minute.

“It gives us a lot of time to prepare and to get players ready and to make sure that we go there and defend. It's always difficult to defend, it's probably easier to win because now everybody wants to knock you off."

READ: Rulani Mokwena has cashed in millions in bonuses at Mamelodi Sundowns in the 2023/2024 season

Ellis has now called on CAF to conduct the draw for the 2025 WAFCON as soon as possible so that countries are able to start with their plans and preparations.

"If the draw can happen sooner than later then also you will know who you're preparing for well in advance like for the World Cup. You know almost a year before, who you were playing so you had very, very long to prepare for the different opponents and if the draw can come early, I think that will help all other countries."