South African coach Desiree Ellis says a positive result in their final FIFA Women’s World Cup™ group match against Italy is the team’s most important objective at the moment, as it would be a massive boost for the game in the country.
The trainer was speaking from the Wellington Regional Stadium in New Zealand where the African champions will go toe-to-toe against Italy on Wednesday at 07h00 GMT in a must-win encounter.
Ellis, who was joined by the in-form Hilda Magaia at the pre-match press conference said fans back home would be getting up early to watch the game due to the time difference, and that it was their wish to give them something to smile about before the start off their day.
“You want to put a smile on people's faces more than anything because the fans get up early in the morning. As we know, there's a huge time difference and when they're on their way to work, you want to let them go to work smiling and that's what it's all about,” said Ellis.
The coach further went on to highlight how a win not only benefits the current squad that is at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, but the women’s game as a whole stands to greatly benefit should the team do well as the world stage.
“I think it's bigger than just us. It's those that have come before, that have coached before, that have come before that have contributed in the (women’s) league that make a huge contribution because they see the players.
"We get the players for five days and we have to work with that so their contribution is immense, and I think a victory tomorrow will be huge for woman's football in the country.
"I think we always speak about the lack of sponsorship, and I think that will be another step where we can draw sponsors closer to the team because this team has done amazing things”, concluded the coach.
Banyana Banyana have a single point from the last two fixtures against Sweden and Argentina, putting them in a precarious third position which requires nothing less than a victory to advance further.