Banyana Banyana made a statement of intent by becoming the first ever side to beat Nigeria in a opening Africa Women’s Cup of Nations group match, but Desiree Ellis’ ladies are not about to get ahead of themselves.
It would be easy for the players to walk around with their chests out and brag about beating the most successful side in the tournament. However, it was only the first game of the competition and they cannot allow the victory to get in the way of what’s more important – to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in France next year.
Banyana’s heroin on Sunday in Ghana, Thembi Kgatlana, spoke of the team’s delight after their 1-0 victory and then stressed the importance of taking things a step at a time.
“This means a lot to me, [but] more especially for the team because we know how important it is to have won this game. We look forward to working together as a team and we came here for one goal, which is to qualify for the World Cup. We are going to take every game step by step,” the Houstan Dash star said after the game.
Banyana coach Ellis dedicated the victory to the people of South Africa, sponsors Sasol and SAFA.
“Even though they had a lot of position, they did not really threaten us except for that one moment. In the first half our passes were going astray, and we spoke about that at half time. But we always knew we had it in us, it took a moment of brilliance to decide the match and we planned really well. We said the first game of the tournament is the most important and it’s even bigger playing Nigeria. The victory is for, but also for the people back home, for our sponsors Sasol and SAFA and to the coaches who have sacrificed for the last year.