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