South Africa coach Desiree Ellis has warned her team to forget their tag as one of the 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations (WAFCON) favourites.
Banyana Banyana, who have been WAFCON runners-up five times – including at the last edition in Ghana in 2018 – are tipped to finally break their trophy drought at senior continental level for this tournament in Morocco.
They got their campaign underway on Monday evening when they beat Group C rivals and reigning champions, Nigeria – 2-1, in Rabat, thanks to quick-fire second-half goals from Jermaine Seoposenwe and Hildah Magaia. Rasheedat Ajibade scored a late consolation for the Super Falcons.
“The team has grown a lot since the last edition,” Ellis told Sowetan Live. “It would be naive of us to go to a tournament and not set a goal of winning it… we know we are one of the favourites.
“We’ve been runners-up five times, so we’re favourites but that doesn’t mean we must think it’ll be easy for us.
“We can’t go there and underestimate opponents. We have debutants in our group in Botswana [who beat them in the Olympic qualifiers in 2019] and Burundi.
“They’re both good countries who can beat any team, so I will continue to stress to the players that nothing will be easy. Burundi beat Tanzania [in the qualifiers]… Senegal beat Mali recently,” said Ellis.