11 February 2022 – South African senior women’s team (Banyana Banyana) coach Desiree Ellis believes the experience Zambia gained at the Tokyo Olympics is second to none and thus she is expecting a competitive encounter when the two sides face off in the much anticipated International friendly at Nkoloma Stadium tomorrow (Saturday, 12 February 2022).
Banyana Banyana arrived in Zambia on Thursday, 10 February and hit the ground running with their first training session in preparation to face the Copper Queens.
“We came together about a week ago to prepare for this encounter and I think Zambia who have been to the Olympics and did extremely well will give us a competitive game.” Said Ellis.
“We have played each other on a few occasions and games have been very tight between us. So when we wanted a friendly it was no brainer. We would have liked a North African side because we are playing a Northern African team in the qualifiers but we all know the challenges of Covid-19.” Added Ellis.
The International friendly against the Copper Queens falls outside the FIFA calendar and Ellis travelled with a strong 19-woman squad of locally based players with Hildah Magaia being the only overseas player featured in the squad as she was still in the country at the time of the squad selection.
The rest of the overseas based players are expected to join the team for the two legged AWCON qualifier against Algeria on 18 and 23 February 2022.
“We will have a full contingent of overseas based players joining us for the Algeria game which is great for us and we will be using the game against Zambia to look at players we brought in and get the mix right between experience and youth.”
“It’s just unfortunate Jermaine Seoposenwe documents are not in order for her to travel which is very unfortunate for us because she has been in top form and scoring goals.”
Zambia will also be using the friendly as their preparation for their AWCON qualifiers against Namibia and Ellis believes it will be more than just a friendly and both teams will be fighting to win.
“This will not only help us but it will help Zambia as well as they are preparing for their qualifier against Namibia.”
“We know when we play it’s not really a friendly, it becomes a competitive match which you want to win and tomorrow will be no different.” Concluded Ellis.