Banyana coach Ellis hopeful of reaching World Cup last-16

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Desiree Ellis coach of South Africa during training Session in Wellington on Monday. PHOTO: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis believes the team is capable of making it to the knockout stages of the Fifa Women’s World Cup.

Ellis’ charges will play against Italy in their last group game at the tournament and they need a win in this encounter in order to have any hope of progressing to the last-16 of the tournament.

Banyana only have one point in the tournament so far, level as Argentina, while Sweden are on six points and Italy have three points.

Banyana will have to beat the Italians and hope Sweden also win against Argentina. But, Ellis says her charges are only focusing on ding their job against Italy.

“It’s a very important game against Italy. We have a job to and I believe that we will be able to do it as only as we focus and think about the big picture. We are looking at wining out first game in their World Cup and at the same time we are looking at making it to the knockout stages of the tournament,” said the Banyana coach.

“We can do it, we just have to make it a point that we want to win more than them. Once we do that, nothing will stop us. But I know the players are eager to make it to the next stage, and winning our first game in the tournament. We know that it won’t be easy, but it’s something that can happen. We have played really well in our last two games even though results didn’t go the way we wanted.”

Ellis emphasised the need for her charges to be lethal upfront and says once that is sorted they will be unstoppable.

“Goals, we just need to make sure that we score the goals. We created chances, it happened in the game against Sweden and we lost and it happened in the game against Argentina and we drew. But, it is all up to us, we just need to find the back of the net and make use of all the opportunities created,” she added.

“We have worked so much on finishing in the last few days because we know how important it is for us to win that match. But, we are hopeful and we are positive that we can make it to the next round of the tournament.”

Banyana and Italy will lock horns at Wellington Regional Stadium on Wednesday.

The Citizen/Tshepo Ntsoelengoe