After losing 0-1 to the Super Falcons in the semifinal at Cameroon 2016 edition of the African Women’s Nations Cup, coach of Banyana Banyana of South Africa, Desiree Ellis, walked up to Florence Omagbemi, who was the head coach of the Nigerian team at that time.
She said: “We made some mistakes today, and your team won. It won’t repeat itself again.”
While the Omagbemi-led technical crew, made up of ex-players including Ann Chiejine and Pepertua Nkwocha was sent packing by the Amaju Pinnick-led Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) despite winning the trophy, beating the Lionesses of Cameroon at the 2016 final, South Africa Football Association (SAFA), kept faith in coach Ellis, a former midfielder and founding member of the Banyana Banyana team.
Ellis qualified the Banyana Banyana to the final of the 2018 AWCON in Ghana, defeating Mali 2-0 in their semi-final tie at the Cape Coast Stadium on Tuesday to set up a final clash against the Super Falcons on Saturday at the Accra Sports Stadium.
It will be the second time both Nigeria and South Africa will be meeting at AWCON 2018, and coach Ellis says her team would make it a double against the eight-time champions, Super Falcons.
The Banyana Banyana had defeated Nigeria 1-0 in their first Group B game at the Cape Coast Stadium.
After watching the Super Falcons struggled to overcome Cameroun in Tuesday’s semifinal, Ellis says she would come up with a different formation that will be difficult for the Nigeria coach, Thomas Dennerby, and his crew to interpret on Saturday.
Ellis told a South Africa media yesterday that she was excited picking the ticket to France 2019 World Cup, but she would do everything possible to add the AWCON title on Saturday.
She is banking on strikers, including Thembi Kgatlana, who scored their first goal against Mali on Tuesday, her fifth goal of the competition, to do the damage against the Super Falcons in the final.
Nigeria is the only country parading a foreign coach among the eight teams that participated in the competition.