Banyana Banyana interim head coach Desiree Ellis says they want to change their fortunes when they face Nigeria in the semi-final of the 2016 CAF African Women’s Cup of Nations tonight (Tuesday, 29 November).
The match takes place at State Limbe Omnisport in Limbe, Cameroon.
Kickoff is at 20h00 South African time.
The Nigerians have dominated this competition over the years, winning a record nine times.
The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana have only come close on four occasions where they finished as runners up in 1995, 2000, 2008 and 2012.
Along the way, South Africa has met Nigeria nine times, and lost eight times – including twice in the final.
Banyana Banyana only defeated the West Africans once – and that was back in 2012 in the semi-finals in Equatorial Guinea.
But Ellis says things have to change.
“Playing against Nigeria brings back many memories and emotions, and this encounter will be no different. When we look back to the day when I started playing international football, I am honoured to lead Banyana Banyana into this much-anticipated clash. We have a worthy opponent, the defending champions who have a better history than us in the tournament and in our meetings – we have to respect that, no two ways about it. But when we get onto the pitch it’s 11 v11 and if we get the tactics right we could just come out victorious,” said Ellis.
The former Banyana Banyana captain says this is the kind of match where players do not need to be motivated.
“Everybody is excited, everybody is raring to go. A lot of the players know this is an opportunity to make history by getting to the final and winning it – but first we have to go past our nemesis. We don’t just want to do it for this group that is in Cameroon but for everyone back home who has been very supportive since the start of the tournament,” added Ellis.
“The lovely thing is that every player is raising their hands in terms of selection for this match because this a kind of encounter where players do not need motivation – any clash against Nigeria is like a cup final, so in a way it makes our lives easier on the bench because the players want this as much as we do, so they will go out there and fight,” added Ellis.
Striker Jermaine Seoposenwe will miss the match as she is serving a suspension after collecting two yellow cards.
In an earlier kickoff of 17h00, hosts Cameroon will be up against Ghana at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaoundé (Tuesday, 29 November 2016).
The winning semi-finalists will meet on Saturday, 3 December in Yaounde.