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Ellis not fazed by Morocco’s homeground advantage

Banyana Banyana mentor Desiree Ellis has urged her charges to stay focused throughout the entire match when they take on hosts Morocco in the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations final on Saturday. She anticipates a brutal contest that requires total concentration.

Stade Prince Moulay Abdallah is expected to be a full house come Saturday night packed with the Moroccans supporting their compatriots, with a small portion of South Africans supporting their nation.

“No match in the knockout stage is easy, especially the final, but we are ready for every eventuality. It’s not going to be an easy match. The home crowd will be there. We have to do what we have to do. We have to make sure we stay concentrated; one thing we have to make sure is that we don’t concede, and this time we have to be creative in front of goal,” Ellis told the media.

“We played at the Rio Olympics against Brazil at one of the biggest stadiums. When they sang the national anthem, it gave me goosebumps. We’ve been in that situation where we don’t have a crowd for them. It’s going to take another huge effort like that to make sure we get on. It’s all about the final. We concentrate on that.”

“They [Morocco] are not in the final by chance; they got a coach who won the Champions League, they have a two-tier league with seven teams each, and they have a good team. They will analyze us, and we going to analyze them, that’s what it’s about; executing the game plan to the T, then we going to come out with a positive result.”

Banyana skipper Refiloe Jane who was also present at the media presser, is confident that they will get the gold medals after coming close in 2018.

Refiloe Jane

“Winning the trophy will mean a lot to the players. We know how close we’ve come before. We felt like there is no better time than to do it right now. We are going to do our utmost best to make sure we clinch it.”

“We know how many times we’ve played the finals before and came close to winning the tournament. We want to go out there and do it for everyone. We want to do it for a young girl who wants to see herself playing for the national team,” Jane said.

Kickoff is at 22h00 (South African time).

RELATED STORY: Banyana’s Ellis going all out for “gold”

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