4 Nations a test for Banyana Banyana, says former captain

FORMER Banyana Banyana captain Desiree Ellis believes the Four Nations tournament in the Netherlands will help South Africa get a true sense of their strength.

FORMER Banyana Banyana captain Desiree Ellis believes the Four Nations tournament in the Netherlands will help South Africa get a true sense of their strength.

Banyana will compete against Switzerland, the Netherlands and China in the week-long event next month, and Ellis feels the quality of opposition is useful if Banyana intend to keep improving.

"We should not be testing ourselves against teams that we should be beating anyway," she said.

"No disrespect to anybody, but we should be looking at playing the likes of Nigeria and Ghana, who are proven forces on the continent."

Ellis said Banyana are on the right track, and that their preparations should be centred on qualifying for the 2011 World Cup in Germany.

"We have to take a leaf out of the men's Under-23 team of 2000, who were never afraid of travelling and experiencing different environments.

"They managed to beat the likes of Brazil and it gives me great pleasure that in the Four Nations tournament, we will meet teams that regularly feature in the World Cup," she said.

For South Africa to go through to the World Cup, they will have to earn two of the places reserved for African teams by making the final of the African Women's Championship, which will be held in this country.

"This tournament [in the Netherlands] should tell us whether we have improved or not in the last couple of months," Ellis said.

"We have played the Netherlands before and we have never beaten them. I should hope we learn from all those times.

"China is also a force to be reckoned with, after all they have been World Cup runners-up."

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