Banyana are wary of Botswana

Cape Argus - - SPORT -

Liver­pool, on the other hand, splashed out in the re­gion of £160mil­lion on the likes of Naby Keita, ver­sa­tile Brazil­ian Fabinho, Brazil keeper Alisson and Swiss play­maker Xher­dan Shaqiri.

The Merseysiders have lost only one of their last 11 Premier League meet­ings against Tot­ten­ham but were also frus­trated by them in a 2-2 draw at An­field last sea­son when Harry Kane scored a last-gasp penalty equaliser.

There is an edge be­tween the clubs and Klopp knows three points to­mor­row would send out a mes­sage of in­tent.

De­feat for Tot­ten­ham in a fix­ture that was sup­posed to be the chris­ten­ing of their new sta­dium will lead to fur­ther scru­tiny of the de­ci­sion to trust the same play­ers that have achieved three suc­ces­sive top-three fin­ishes but no sil­ver­ware.

Wat­ford’s best-ever start to a top-flight sea­son will be put to the test as they take on a Manch­ester United side with­out striker Mar­cus Rash­ford, who was sent off in their morale-boost­ing win against Burn­ley.

Chelsea, who have qui­etly gone about their busi­ness un­der new man­ager Mau­r­izio Sarri, are also 100 per­cent af­ter four games and will rel­ish a home clash against Cardiff City.

While Liver­pool’s out­lay on new play­ers has, so far, proved ben­e­fi­cial, the same can­not be said of West Ham United.

The Lon­don club bol­stered their squad with nearly £100-mil­lion worth of new sign­ings for in­com­ing man­ager Manuel Pel­le­grini, but are point­less af­ter four games.

Things do not get any eas­ier ei­ther with West Ham away to Everton on Sun­day. BANYANA Banyana coach De­siree El­lis is wary of the dan­ger that Botswana pose ahead of their Cosafa Cup tie at Isaac Wolf­son Sta­dium this af­ter­noon (kick-off at 3:30pm).

Both sides are on three points af­ter bag­ging wins in their open­ers against Mada­gas­car and Malawi re­spec­tively. But it is Botswana who oc­cupy the sum­mit of group A on a goal dif­fer­ence ad­van­tage.

The host na­tion and re­gional tour­na­ment de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons’ coach El­lis says they can­not risk tak­ing their neigh­bours for granted as they know each other too well.

“We are neigh­bours and when we play each other it’s al­ways a tough bat­tle,”El­lis said. “They know about us as much as we know about them. We have to pre­pare very well, and en­sure that we ex­e­cute that plan. We won’t take any­thing for granted, hence we have to thor­oughly see how the op­po­si­tion plays and make sure that we pre­pare to the best of our abil­i­ties, be­cause this is the most vital game of them all.”

The US-based trio Ja­nine van Wyk, Linda Motl­halo and Thembi Kgat­lana all made the bench against Mada­gas­car but they didn’t fea­ture due to a jet-lag.

Van Wyk and Motl­halo were not part of the team dur­ing last year’s tri­umph in Bu­l­awayo, while Kgat­lana was voted Player of the Tour­na­ment. How­ever, the 55-year-old coach is adamant that she won’t rush them onto the field if they are not ready as she’s got enough per­son­nel to com­pete.

“The trio from the US were not avail­able against Mada­gas­car but we worked a lit­tle bit with them on the side and yes­ter­day in train­ing,” El­lis ex­plained.

“We would like to play them but we have to look at the well-be­ing of the player. We’ve got enough per­son­nel who are able to go out there and play.

“When you bring play­ers to a tour­na­ment, you want to make sure that you give them an op­por­tu­nity to show what they can do. This will be the only way they can prove that they are ready for a higher level.”

At some stages against Mada­gas­car, Banyana took their foot off the pedal, thus al­low­ing the op­po­si­tion back into the game af­ter tak­ing an early 2-0 lead. As a re­sult, they ended the game player down. How­ever, El­lis was pleased with her team’s re­silience that saw them get a cou­ple of shots on tar­get.

“We cre­ated a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties in the sec­ond half, and since the goal­keeper (Verosan­ta­tra Diana An­dri­anan­drasana ) was the Lady of the Match that shows how much we got the balls on tar­get,” she in­sisted. “I am happy with the re­sult but I still be­lieve that we can im­prove our per­for­mance go­ing for­ward.”

EPA

Tot­ten­ham’s Harry Kane put a brace past Liver­pool last year when Spurs dom­i­nated the Reds in a 4-1 vic­tory. Here he can be seen cel­e­brat­ing one of those goals on that fate­ful match­day. |

MIHLALI BALEKA @Mih­lal­ibaleka

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