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ELLIS LIVING HER DREAM AFTER BANYANA’S FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFICATION

Stand Up for the Champions...Banyana Banyana celebrate their victory over Mali which afforded them a ticket to the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France

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Stand Up for the Champions…Banyana Banyana celebrate their victory over Mali which afforded them a ticket to the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France

SHE has been there from the very first official match of Banyana Banyana at the age of 30, and she scored a hat-trick on that particular day of 1993 May 30 as Banyana registered an overwhelming 14-0 victory over Swaziland, Writes NAKAMPE LEKWADU.
In her deep sleep, like every players she had a wild dream of helping Banyana as a player to qualifying for FIFA World Cup one day but that never happened until she finally hang up her football boots helplessly.
Today, her dream has become a reality although not as a player but as a coach of the very same team which she was at some point its second captain. This is the story of multi-award winning coach, and Banyana Banyana’s mentor, Desiree Ellis who on Tuesday night ushered the team to their first ever FIFA World Cup. This world showpiece is scheduled for France in June next year.
Banyana earned their passage through to the world cup after their 2-0 victory over Mali on Tuesday night in the semi-finals of Total African Women Championships underway in Ghana.
The win over Mali with goals scored by Thembi Kgatlana and Lebogang Ramalepe saw Ellis’ mentored side finished on top of their group with 7 points. This after they maintained their unbeaten record in group matches which saw them win two matches that include the historic 1-0 over title defenders, Nigeria before they were forced to a 1-all draw by Zambia but then beat Mali in their last match.
Banyana’s historic qualification to the world cup comes hardly two months after the team was crowned the 2018 Cosafa champions, a courtesy of 2-1 victory over Cameroon in the final match played in Port Elizabeth on September 22 before they could be announced as the 2018 SA Sports Awards’ Team of the Year.
This is Banyana’s first time to qualify for the world cup since the SA Football Association was readmitted back to FIFA back in 1990.
Banyana will face Nigeria in the final match on Saturday. Nigeria reached the final match with a 4-2 penalty shootouts victory over Cameroon in another semi-final match. Both Banyana and Nigeria will be joined by the winner between Cameroon and Mali to the world cup for the three positions reserved from African continent.
-nakampe@lenakacom.co.za

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