Desiree Ellis: It’s a setback for women’s football

Desiree Ellis: It’s a setback for women’s football

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis says their failure to qualify for the Paris Olympic Games is a setback to women’s football in the country.

The African Champions played to a goalless draw against Nigeria on Tuesday night at Loftus Stadium, but the result wasn’t enough to see them through with the Super Falcon having won the first leg in Abuja 1-0.

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Ellis was visibly disappointed during her post match conference alongside captain Refiloe Jane, explaining why she felt they didn’t do enough.

''It's a big disappointment not just for us but for everyone involved in women's football, because we didn't go in 2020, we were in a similar situation where we had so many chances to - but didn't go to the next round. 

“Likewise we didn't go to the Olympics because of this, it will take a while to recover from this though,'' said Ellis.

The coach made two changes to her starting line-up with attacker Hilda Magaia and defender Noko Matlou dropping to the bench and their spots taken by striker Noxolo Cesane and midfielder Nomvula Kgoale.

Ellis was gutted the tactical tweaks didn’t work out.

''We knew that coming into this game - we needed to score, we also knew that we needed to score as early as possible because the longer the game went on, the more desperate we become.

''We didn't start well, we changed the formation slightly because we needed to score, we went with three upfront - they got a chance very early on, I think that was the only chance they got in the half. But, we didn't go forward as much we wanted to in the first half,'' added Ellis.

Nigeria coach Randy Waldrum on the other hand was elated and immediately made an appeal to his employers to back the Super Falcons ahead of Paris.

  ''My plea and challenge is to the minister of sport and to the federation to help us prepare properly, we need to camp in Europe to prepare for the group that we have. 

''We need proper training, proper transportation, we need to do things right because these women deserve this opportunity to go represent our country Nigeria in the best possible way,'' said Waldrum.

Waldrum added that he felt their tactics were spot on against a Banyana team that was throwing everything at them.