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Ellis' eyes already set on World Cup 2027

Coach to use Wafcon as preparation for global showpiece

Neville Khoza Journalist
Jermaine Seoposenwe of South Africa during the 2024 WAFCON Qualifier, 2nd Leg match between South Africa and Burkina Faso at Lucas Moripe Stadium on December 04, 2023 in Pretoria,
Jermaine Seoposenwe of South Africa during the 2024 WAFCON Qualifier, 2nd Leg match between South Africa and Burkina Faso at Lucas Moripe Stadium on December 04, 2023 in Pretoria,
Image: Gallo Images/Christiaan Kotze

After ticking a box by qualifying for the Women's Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) in Morocco next year, Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has detailed a successful plan for the national team heading into the next Fifa World Cup in 2027.

Ellis said next year's Wafcon will be the opportunity for young players to get experience and that in the 2026 Wafcon tournament, they will have enough experience as they look to qualify for the World Cup since SA is no longer bidding for it.

Just over a week ago, SA withdrew its bid to host the Women's World Cup in 2027.

Banyana qualified for Wafcon after beating Burkina Faso 2-0 [3-1 on aggregate] on Monday at Lucas Moripe Stadium after goals from Linda Motlhalo and Nicole Michael sent them through.

"We got a lot of players missing but we got the core of the group. You look at players who were not even on the match-day squad, some of them even in their early 20s," Ellis explained to the media during the post-match press conference.

"You look at players on the pitch, mostly very young players. We always make sure that we have the core of the group ...

"I mean, we have one centre-back that played at the World Cup [Lebohang Ramalepe], the others are injured. Refiloe Jane is currently playing, and Nomvula [Kgoale] just started playing again.

"So we have a lot of players that are out, but the experience they [young players] gained is second to none and we dug deep to put the team together."

With the quality they have in the team, Ellis feels this augurs well for the future as they look ahead to the World Cup in 2027.

"This shows the quality we have in this group and come 2026, whether I'm here or not, there is a core group developing," she said.

"We already made a list of players that we are looking at to get ready for 2027 and a lot of these players will have to play at the Wafcon 2024 to experience the tournament and to be ready for 2026 to qualify for the World Cup now that we are no longer bidding for that, so it augurs well for the future."

Banyana's next match is the back-to-back Olympic qualifier against Tanzania on February 19 and 28.


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