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Banyana coach Desiree Ellis dedicates win against Nigeria to all South Africans

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
South African football national women's coach Desiree Ellis.
South African football national women's coach Desiree Ellis.
Image: ANP via Getty Images

Banyana Banyana mentor Desiree Ellis has dedicated their Africa Women's Cup of Nations (Awcon) victory over their much-vaunted rivals Nigeria to all South Africans, hoping it'll soothe them amid various challenges Mzansi is faced with at the moment.

Banyana put on a show to outwit Nigeria, the defending champions, 2-1, in their Awcon Group C opener at Stade Moulay Hasan in Rabat, Morocco, on Monday night. Jermaine Seoposenwe and Hildah Magaia were on target for Ellis's side, while Nigeria netted a consolation goal via Rasheedat  Ajibade in stoppage time.

“This victory is for everyone back home. It's for the coaches that have put in such a lot of work. For the people back home, you know, the situation back home...there's a lot of challenges. So we tried to do it for our country,'' said Ellis after the match.

Ellis also detailed why it was crucial for Banyana to win the opener. Banyana face Burundi in their second pool game at the same venue on Thursday (7pm SA time). Burundi lost 4-2 to Botswana in their opening Group C tie. Ellis has emphasised they'll still not underestimate anyone.

“The first game of the tournament is always very important and what made the game bigger was that we played Nigeria. We knew we needed to get a good start that'd give us the confidence and the momentum. The players were magnificent...they executed the plan to the tee. This is a massive three points because now it sets the tone for the rest of the tournament for us,'' Ellis said.

“We're not going to underestimate any team. This game is now behind us and now we focus on our next opponent which is Burundi. We'll make sure that we plan and prepare well, then it's up to the players to execute the plan.''

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