Banyana Banyana have safely returned home from Cameroon where they participated in the 2016 CAF African Women’s Cup of Nation in Cameroon.
The South Africans landed in Johannesburg on Tuesday morning, 6 December, having finished fourth for the second year in a row, as interim head coach Desiree Ellis lamented the lack of converting chances.
They also finished in the same position two years in Namibia.
In Cameroon, the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana started with a goalless draw against Zimbabwe, followed by a 1-0 loss to hosts Cameroon before unleashing five goals with no reply past Egypt to qualify for the knock-out rounds.
But then the goals dried up again, despite the team dominating their opponents.
They lost 1-0 to Nigeria in the semi-finals before going down by the same margin to Ghana in the 3rd/4th place play-off on Friday, 2 December in Limbe.
Ellis says they did everything possible to come back with a medal. “When you come to a tournament you come to win it, the expectation was just that for all of us. If you watched our games you will realise that we create chances up until the last minute.
“I think it was just lack of composure in certain situations, it seems everybody is rushing. When you are in such high pressure situations you need calm heads, which we didn’t have.
“I have to sum it up in one line – GOALS WIN GAMES. And if a match was decided on creating opportunities we would win hands down. We would have loved to go back home wearing medals but it did not happen,” said Ellis.
“But I am very proud of the girls, they never gave up. At times we didn’t minimize our mistakes, we got undone at three set-pieces against Ghana, which is poor defending, and on the other hand when we were in similar positions we couldn’t finish.
“It is the same old story that we create many chances but we don’t take them, and it is something we have to seriously work on. We create enough to win matches.”
Ellis added that she has seen a lot of improvement – not just in her team, but also in other countries.
“This was one of the better tournaments I have been in, not just with the organisation but also the standard of football – the quality was high. The talent displayed showed that Africa is improving, hopefully it will not happen just in these tournaments but in the FIFA tournaments.
“We can take the quality that we have and not only only participate in the FIFA tournaments but also go beyond the quarterfinals and maybe even win them,” added Ellis.
Meanwhile the former Banyana Banyana captain has congratulated her friend and Nigerian counterpart, Florence Omagbemi, for winning the 2016 Edition of the CAF African Women’s Cup of Nations in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
The Super Falcons successfully defended their title with a 1-0 victory over hosts Cameroon in the final (Saturday, 3 December).
Ellis and Omagbemi last faced off as captains of their respective countries in 2000 vying for the then African Women’s Championship trophy.
The match ended in chaos 16 years ago when fans rioted and Nigeria was awarded victory. “We have come a long way with Florence and it gives me great pleasure and a sense of relief to see her to lift the trophy. She has now down it as a player and a coach, that is a remarkable achievement.
‘All this does is that it gives the rest of us hope that with a lot of hard work and support, we can also reach these highs. Congratulations to her, I am so happy for her considering also that she had to us to get to the gold medal. All the best in your future endeavours,” concluded Ellis.
This was Nigeria’s 10 title in the tournament (1991, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2016).
Banyana Banyana Results in 2016 AWCON:
South Africa 0–0 Zimbabwe
Cameroon 1–0 South Africa
South Africa 5–0 Egypt
South Africa 0–1 Nigeria (Semi-final)
Ghana 1–0 South Africa (3rd/4th Place Play-off)
Banyana Banyana Stats in AWCON:
1995 – Final (lost to Nigeria)
1998 – Group Stages
2000 – Final (lost to Nigeria)
2004 – Group Stages
2006 – 3rd Place (beat Cameroon)
2008 – Final (lost to Equatorial Guinea)
2010 – 3rd Place (beat Cameroon)
2012 – Final (lost to Equatorial Guinea)
2014 – 4th Place (Lost to Ivory Coast)
2016 – 4th Place (Lost to Ghana)
Photo 1 caption: Banyana Banyana hearts sink as the final whistle blows, and South Africa exit their medal hopes 2016 CAF African Women’s Cup of Nation in Cameroon after a 1-0 loss to Ghana. Image: Screengrab off Supersport Broadcast
Photo 2 caption: The SASOL Banyana Banyana team photo before their departure for the 2016 CAF African Women’s Cup of Nations in Cameroon. Photo: Supplied
Photo 3 caption: Banyana Banyana interim coach Desiree Ellis was philosophical in review, “We would have loved to go back home wearing medals but it did not happen. But I am very proud of the girls, they never gave up.” Image: Screengrab off Supersport Broadcast
Image 4 caption: The 2016 CAF African Women’s Cup of Nations official logo. Image: Supplied
With editing by gsport