Ellis takes charge of her first Banyana Banyana training session 18 October 2016 – Banyana Banyana interim coach Desiree Ellis has admitted to being nervous when she took charge of her first training session of the South African Senior Women’s National Team since she was appointed to the position last week. Kickoff is at 15h00. Ellis, who is being assisted by Maud Khumalo and Cheryl Botes, worked for two and half years as an assistant to former Banyana Banyana head coach Vera Pauw. “I was a bit nervous but the players were looking forward to it and I was pleasantly surprised by the attitude, by the level of fitness because they were professional enough to continue with their training as we all know the 2016 African Women Cup of Nations is coming up, and that gave us a base to work from as the technical team,” said Ellis. She has made a few changes to the team but also kept some of those who went to the 2016 Rio Olympics. Bontle Mashilo (TUT-Pretoria), Lebogang Rakhuduwe (TUT-Pretoria) and Astrid Boks (Santos FC) are the only new comers into the squad. “Basically, we tried to freshen the squad a bit. We looked at the Varsity Cup that has been going on, and some other tournaments, and we felt the need to bring the new players in. As for the players that have been there before but did not go to Rio we also thought we should give them another opportunity and also assess how they have been doing Unfortunately the overseas-based players are not available,” added Ellis. “But the door is definitely not closed to anyone – those who did not make it this time and still aspire to play for the national team they will get their chance.” The former Banyana Banyana captain admits her first match in charge will not be easy but they will do the best they can. “We know it will not be easy against Egypt because they qualified for the 2016 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations after beating Ivory Coast at home and lost 2-1 away - but went through on the away goal rule, so we can’t take them lightly. We want to do well and get off on a positive start. The challenge in the past has been lack of goals and we are working to get it right hence we brought many attacking players. It is always good to start with a win, and hopefully we will achieve that,” said Ellis. Amanda Dlamini and Legato Madiba have been withdrawn from the squad for the clash against Egypt. Dlamini has been away on other commitments (she went to France with the DANONE u12 squad and only returned on Tuesday, 18 October), while Madiba is out with an injury. Amogelang Motau, captain of the South African u20 Women’s National Team, has been brought in as Dlamini’s replacement while Nomathemba Ntsibande has taken the place of Madiba.