We live for possibilities
On Banyana’s progress in the Africa Women Cup of Nations
Well, the girls have really outdone themselves and they have been disciplined about the whole thing. They have been consistent in wanting to win and that is what every coach wishes for. Reaching the semi-finals with aplomb like we did was never easy and I think our preparations were spot-on. All the hard work that we did while preparing for this competition is now showing. We are reaping the rewards of our hard work and I must say I am so proud of everyone involved with the team.
On Thembi Kgatlana’s sizzling form
Thembi has been finishing well and has picked up her form at the right moment. But, again, with us it is never about individuals but rather the team. We are always focusing on the positives for the team and if one player happens to show the kind of form that Thembi has shown, then we applaud her and encourage her to do more. The girls are fighting for one another and the senior players have been very influential in terms of helping the young and new players to settle in. Thembi is one of a kind and I can guarantee you she will be sharper as she gets more games. I really don’t want her to think that already she is a star though. She has to keep her feet on the ground all the time. She’s a very talented player with lots of passion for the game. But, like I said, it’s all about the team for us. We are all about the team.
On lessons learnt in the tour- nament
There are no easy games in these types of competitions and the tournament has shown us that. I mean, look at how Mali have knocked out the hosts, Ghana – unbelievable, but this is football. This really goes to show that there are no easy games. You must never take your foot off the pedal and you have to always expect a tough battle irrespective of who you come up against. Tournaments like this one always have a surprise package and if you take your foot off the pedal, you are bound to suffer the consequences. There’s always pressure in tournaments like this and, as a team, you always have to be alert and be able to act accordingly. There’s a lot of lessons I and the technical team have learnt. We are hoping that all these lessons will come in handy when we go to the World Cup.
On the morale and team spirit in camp
The morale and the team spirit is very high in the camp and the girls are fully focused. We have seen the possibility of going all the way to lift the trophy. We live for possibilities and we are slowly but surely making them realities. The good thing about the bunch of players we have is that they are all willing to work hard for the team and are fighting for one another on the field of play. We have built this team around those morals and it has yielded results for us. The experienced players knows that this is their only chance to go to the World Cup, because by the time the next World Cup comes, some of them might be retired already and that has been a motivating factor for them. They are helping the youngsters in the team a great deal.
On the overall tournament
We started the tournament very well. I mean, beating Nigeria in our opening game gave us the boost and confidence we needed. It gave the girls self-belief that they can beat anyone as long as they fight for each other on the field of play. That win has prepared us for the entire tournament and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
On the next step
We have already started with our next step, preparing for the World Cup because we believe that we are going to the World Cup. Our plans and preparations for the next step, which is the FIFA World Cup, started when we began preparations for the Africa Women Cup of Nations. We are well on course to achieving what we wanted to achieve with this tournament and that has been what makes us happy as the technical team. We will have to sit down after this tournament, have time to reflect and see areas that need more attention in our game and the squad, but for now we want to be African champions. Our U17s, Bantwana Bantwana, have just come back from the U17 World Cup and the experience they gained there will help us and maybe we can have a look at one or two players from their team.
This week we hear from Desiree Ellis – Banyana Banyana head coach