Desiree Ellis relying on Banyana Banyana experience to beat Nigeria

Desiree Ellis relying on Banyana Banyana experience to beat Nigeria

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis insists experience will count in their final hurdle towards Olympic qualification against Nigeria.

Banyana arrived in Abuja on Sunday ahead of their first-leg clash against the Super Falcons, which will be played at MKO Abiola National Stadium on 5 April, before the return leg at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria on 9 April. 

READ: Ellis names final Banyana Banyana squad to face Nigeria

With many players returning to the national team following injury lay-offs, Ellis says their experience from the Women’s AFCON and the FIFA World Cup will be key.

"The likes of Refiloe Jane, who's lead this team with aplomb, Bambanane [Mbani] was absolutely magnificent at the World Cup, along with Bongeka Gamede – you need that experience because its players who've been in similar situations," said Ellis.

"Having been in similar situations [equips those players] to be able to get out of the situations, which would really help us [against Nigeria]."

The final Banyana squad also includes 23-year-old Fikile Magama of the University of Western Cape, and 19-year-old Nthabiseng Majiya, who recently signed with Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies. 

Ellis says she needed a mix of experience and youth to give the team more intensity.

"But we also have that enthusiasm of the youth, and I think that mix is what we needed to get right – you have Karabo Dhlamini, Nthabiseng Majiya, Fikile Magama, Sinoxolo and Noxolo [Cesane twins], those players coming through.

"So I think to get that mix right is really important for us as well, because you can have the experience, but you also need the little bit of youth to give you that freshness and the enthusiasm when you need them most."

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