Desiree Ellis has rolled up her sleeves, and quickly got down to working towards the tough job of ensuring that Banyana Banyana get out of the intimidating World Cup Group G alive.
Ellis and her charges earned their ticket to the Women’s 2023 Fifa World Cup, to be jointly hosted by New Zealand and Australia, when they won their first African crown early this year.
Speaking to This is Football.Africa from New Zealand last night, where she has remained since last Saturday’s draw that placed Banyana in Group G with the highly rated Sweden, Argentina and Italy, Elllis said the work of identifying suitable opponents for international friendly matches has started.
“It is indeed a tough draw, not just for us. I think all around all draws are tough for this World Cup. It could have been way tougher than what is. We will obviously utilise the international Fifa dates so that we can use our international players as well.
“We had a plan in place and after the draw. We now have to rejig it to see who we can get to play that are similar to the opponents we are going to be playing the in the group,” said the Africa Coach of the Year.
The Cape Town-born coach said she would cast her net wide, and have a look at all players dotted around the world, as she seeks to add steel to the successful team that won the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
“Obviously you want to look at who fits into what we want to do, and in the way we want to play, and how they can add value to the team,” she said.
The 59-year-old history making coach acknowledged that South Africa needs to build on its steady progress on the domestic league, if it is to match the top playing nations in the world.
“At international level the intensity is much higher than what we are used to back home. So we need to be training at a very high level each and every day, and obviously playing at a high level as well. There are a couple of tough matches in our leagues, but it doesn’t challenge the players enough. We are not where we want to be with the Hollywood Superbets League, but we hope that in the not too distant future, professionally, it would happen soon,” said the Banyana coach.