‘What colour do you want?’ – El­lis’s Banyana gun for gold in Cosafa fi­nal

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - SPORT - MO­HAU RAMASHIDJA

BANYANA BANYANA need to re­main switched on through­out the en­tire 90 min­utes if they are go­ing to emerge vic­to­ri­ous against hosts Zim­babwe, in to­day’s Cosafa Women’s Cham­pi­onship fi­nal at Bar­bour­fields Sta­dium in Bu­l­awayo (kick­off 3pm).

This is the view of Banyana cap­tain, Re­filoe Jane, who is adamant that her side are de­ter­mined not to lose to the hosts in a fi­nal for the sec­ond time in a row, fol­low­ing the 1-0 de­feat they suf­fered in Harare back in 2011.

For Jane, who was given the cap­tain’s arm­band in her first par­tic­i­pa­tion in this tour­na­ment, lift­ing the cham­pi­onship tro­phy at the end of full­time would def­i­nitely count as one of her most mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ences with the na­tional side. The cen­tral mid­fielder added that the cham­pi­onship ti­tle would also serve as a con­fi­dence-booster to the new­com­ers Banyana’s in­terim coach De­siree El­lis had blooded in this south­ern re­gional tour­na­ment.

“Just look­ing back now, none of the matches we fea­tured in lead­ing up to the fi­nal was easy,” Jane said.

“And we an­tic­i­pated that, be­cause we knew ev­ery­body came to this cham­pi­onship with plenty of de­sire. I’m just pleased that we were able to fight all this way to reach the fi­nal stages of the com­pe­ti­tion. How­ever, the job is not done yet.

“We’ll now have to make sure that we win it.”

“Lead­ing the team has been an in­ter­est­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for me, though it is not an easy job for any player to have,” Jane added. “But luck­ily enough, I’m sur­rounded by se­nior play­ers who have been just won­der­ful in terms of push­ing the rest of the play­ers to fight for those de­sired re­sults.

“The new play­ers we have in the squad have also been won­der­ful as well. They’ve been work­ing re­ally hard both in train­ing and at our games, to see the team get to where it is now in the tour­na­ment.”

Mean­while El­lis be­lieves her side are well aware of Zim­babwe’ strengths and weak­nesses lead­ing up to the fi­nal, and they know how to deal with Zim­babwe’s po­tent striker, Ru­tendo Makore, to deny her scor­ing chances.

“I spoke to the girls right af­ter we reached the fi­nal and said to them that they were guar­an­teed a medal for just be­ing in the fi­nal of this com­pe­ti­tion,” El­lis said. “I said it was up to them which colour medal they wanted hang­ing around their necks at full-time.

“All of them told me they were gun­ning for gold in this tie and I be­lieve that they can do it. We’ve also pre­pared well with re­gard to how to keep Zim­babwe quiet in our de­fen­sive third, while we give them all sorts of prob­lems up in the fi­nal third. This is go­ing to be an in­ter­est­ing match, with­out a doubt,”

The South Africans will be hop­ing there is no re­peat of their nerve-jan­gling per­for­mance of the semi-fi­nal, when they fought back from 3-0 down with 15 min­utes to go against Zam­bia, to draw 3-3, and tri­umph in a penalty shootout.

Zim­babwe beat Kenya 4-0 in their last-four clash.

Re­filoe Jane

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