SOUTH AFRICA coach Desiree Ellis says a positive start to their Fifa Women’s World Cup campaign against Spain in Le Havre on Saturday is crucial to give the side a springboard out of the pool.
Banyana Banyana have also been pooled with China and Germany in what is an extremely tough group in their debut at the tournament, and so a victory would be a massive step towards a second round place.
But even a draw in their first match on the big stage will be seen as a positive for the team, who started their African Women’s Championship with a surprise 1-0 victory over Nigeria last year.
“It might be a couple of levels up for Afcon, where we played defending champions Nigeria in the first game but it was so important to start the tournament with a win and we did,” Ellis said.
“We know our strengths and weaknesses, if we stick to our game-plan, whoever comes on as a substitute, can stick to their tasks and responsibilities well, then we can do well.
“Hopefully we can use our strengths as well, like if we are analysing Spain, they are obviously analysing us. At our previous game they had a whole entourage of people, I think there were about 10 of them.
“We have come here to make our mark, we know we are in a difficult group but this team knows what it is capable of and for us they need to play to their true potential and show their quality.”
Ellis says they are determined to make their mark and show the world that South African football is on the up.
“We want to make sure that when the World Cup is over that people remember who South Africa is, and that they say, ‘wow, that was an exciting team to watch’,” she said.
Image (Banyana coach Desiree Ellis and charges optimistic of a good run at the WC who open their account against Spain on Saturday).