South Africa women’s head coach Desiree Ellis has described Tuesday’s semi-final against the Super Falcons of Nigeria in the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations as the ‘final before the final’.”
This is the fourth time both teams are confronting each other in the semi-final with the Falcons winning it twice and lost one.
Commenting ahead of the game, Ellis while admitting that the game will be tough, said they will draw inspiration from their 2012 AWCON win against the Super Falcons.
“If we are not ready now, then there is a problem,” she told cafonline.com.
“We have worked on a few things and we have a plan. It is not just playing Nigeria, you are playing against the defending champions and you need to respect that.
“When we get onto the pitch it will be eleven versus eleven, and it will be who executes the plan the best. We have beaten Nigeria before in 2012 in Equatorial Guinea. In football, nothing is impossible. You need to have the belief which I know we do and you have to execute your plan really well.
“It is the final before the final and it will be extremely tough, and that is what you get in the semi-finals.”
Ellis reflected on the final of the AWCON 2000 which Banyana lost to the Falcons.
“That happened in 2000 in South Africa, we lost 2-0 and the game was abandoned due to crowd trouble. Pressure will always be there and there is no running away from it.
“It doesn’t matter how big or small the occasion. You don’t need any motivation playing against Nigeria. And being a semi-final, I don’t think you need to motivate anyone.
“There is no second chance and there is no tomorrow to say we should have done this or that. The players realise what is at stake. Pressure is not just on me but everyone connected to the game.”
And on her relationahip with Falcons head coach, Florence Omagbemi, Ellis said:”Florence (Omagbemi) and I are friends. We have been hugging each other the whole week but when you go on to the pitch, the friendship stops.
“We will be friends after the game. Like she will be going for victory, it will be naïve of me to say we don’t want the victory because it is a semi-final. Our aim from the beginning is to get the gold and it still remains our aim.”
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