'Some did not see the game!': Banyana victory dedicated to load shedding fans sitting in the dark

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Banyana Banyana advanced to the semifinals of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, qualifying for the 2023 World Cup in the process. Photo: Banyana Banyana/Twitter
Banyana Banyana advanced to the semifinals of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, qualifying for the 2023 World Cup in the process. Photo: Banyana Banyana/Twitter
  • Banyana Banyana has qualified for the 2023 FIFA World Cup set to be staged in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Their qualification was secured following a 1-0 victory against Tunisia in Thursday's Women's Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final clash.
  • Coach Desiree Ellis says her players displayed "true grit" in their win over the North Africans.

Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis has dedicated their Women's Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final 1-0 victory against Tunisia to the fans back home in South Africa.

Star striker Jermaine Seoposenwe was on song for the South Africans as she slotted home a 14th-minute strike that proved to be the all-important match winner.

The win also booked Banyana's qualification for next year's FIFA Women's World Cup jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

The victory was South Africa's fourth on the trot at the tournament in Morocco, and each match comes with different challenges.

"Look, it is never about me; it is about the team first," Ellis told reporters during the post-match press conference.

"As Jermaine (Seoposenwe) said, the squad we selected is versatile. Each and everyone fights for each other. The support staff is fantastic, so credit must go to all of them.

"This victory is for everyone back home. The situation back home is not fantastic.

"There's a lot of load shedding happening, people without electricity and some of them might not have seen the game.

"We receive so many messages wishing us well on social media on our WhatsApp and (we received) phone calls. This is for everyone back home. For the coaches and players that have come before."

Banyana had to make do without star player Thembi Kgatlana, who tore her Achilles in their 1-0 victory against Botswana in the final Group C fixture.

Ellis reveals that the squad were a bit down by the Kgatlana's injury heading into the match against Tunisia but showed "true grit" to overcome their mental difficulties.

"We got experienced players in our team. We've got new players in our team, and we've got some young players in our team. For many of these players in the group, they have never been to a World Cup," said Ellis.

"So, the pressure with that counted against them in the end, but they showed true character and true grit.

"Losing a player like Thembi (Kgatlana), they were sad at the time, but they said let's do it for her then, and I think it was important that we took hold of this opportunity.

"Going the other route is not the route you want to go because you almost have no chance," she concluded.

Banyana is back in action on Monday against Zambia for the Women's Afcon semi-final.

Kick-off is at 19:00 SA time.

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