South Africa senior women’s football team coach Desiree Ellis has said experience played a role in Banyana Banyana’s qualification to the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) finals on Wednesday.
“Credit to Algeria for their fighting spirit but I believe the experience that we have brought us to this point,” Ellis told South African Football Association website.
“…They have been in this position before and we just needed to keep on playing. We felt that they were not a threat except for the long balls that they kept playing and the set pieces they had.”
She said this after Banyana Banyana held hosts Algeria 1-1 to seal the WAFCON spot 3-1 on aggregate after having done the business at home in the first leg which they won 2-0.
In Algiers, the South Africans found themselves trailing to Slylia Koui 45th minute goal.
However, the visitors pulled themselves level courtesy of Linda Motlhalo’s goal from the penalty spot in the 62nd minute.
Reflecting on their equalizer, Ellis said the goal calmed their nerves. Banyana Banyana held on to qualify for the finals scheduled for Morocco in July this year.
“Our finishing was poor. We could have been three or four goals up by the time they scored their opening goal. Even with their goal, we could have defended better,” Ellis said.
South Africa joined Botswana and Zambia as the other teams from Southern Africa to qualify for the AFCON finals, which will also serve as World Cup qualifiers.
List of qualified teams: