Banyana Target Draw or Upset of Super Falcons in Abuja 

With barely three days to the All-important first leg final of the Olympic Women’s football qualifier against Nigeria, the South Africa side are already looking beyond the return leg fixture but planning good result against the  Super Falcons at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja this Friday.

Banyana Banyana’s Coach, Desiree Ellis, was reported by South Africa media yesterday as planning to get a draw or out-rightly upset of the senior Nigerian women’s team. 

Both teams are clashing in Abuja on Friday in the first leg of their Olympic Games qualifiers with the  return leg to hold in Pretoria on April 9 to decide which team will feature in Group C of the Paris 2024 Women’s football event.

“Playing the second leg at home at Loftus Versfeld on April 9 gives us the advantage in the tie. It means we can try for a win or draw in the away leg on April 5 in Abuja that will put us in a strong position coming back to South Africa.”

Ellis, though, stressed her team should not look further than the first match at MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja.

“The first leg will be key. Getting a positive result in the first leg will take a lot of pressure off our team because the travelling is long and there’s little time to prepare for the second leg.

“We arrived in  Nigeria early on  Sunday to prepare there as well. We want to get home with little pressure and we’re also urging the fans to come out in their numbers because when we play away the stadiums are packed,” observed the Banyana coach.

Goalkeeper Andile Dlamini will miss the match for medical reasons but Ellis is confident of the cover she has in goals.

Kaylin Swart cast aside doubts with her strong performances as Banyana became the first senior South African football team to progress past a World Cup group stage in Australia  last year when she was controversially played between the posts by Ellis ahead of Dlamini.

“It doesn’t affect us much. We have a group of players to step in if somebody steps out. It allows someone else to raise their hand,” Ellis said.

The team has been buoyed by crucial players returning from injury, including midfield captain Refiloe Jane and defenders Bambanani Mbane, Sibulele Holweni and Bongeka Gamede.

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