Interest in the senior national team is growing tremendously and an example of that was when the team played the Netherlands and Sweden in Cape Town earlier this year. They also attracted good crowds when they hosted the COSAFA Cup in Port Elizabeth last year.
As they prepare to take on the Jamaicans this weekend, Ellis is hopeful that the people of Durban will come out in their numbers to support the team. Kickoff is 15h00.
“When we went to Port Elizabeth and played the COSAFA Cup, we had packed up stadiums. We were in Cape Town and we had a great crowd. We are hoping in Durban we’re going to have a packed up stadium, since it’s our last game in South Africa before the World Cup,” Ellis said.
A win against Jamaica will give the team a confidence booster after they finished the recent Cyprus Women's Cup without a win. It will also give Ellis a chance to see where they need to improve before the World Cup, which will be played in France from June 7 to July 7.
“We know that we are playing a World Cup bound team. The Greens qualified for the World Cup in 1998 like we have qualified now, but we want to look at improved performances, that’s always key. If we tick a couple of boxes and then we will be two months away from the World Cup."
She added that current Banyana players' dedication, passion and stewardship are the reasons they made it to the World Cup and also praised them for their magnificent work at AFCON.
“If you look at the national team we have Janine Van Vyk, we also have Refiloe Jane that captains her team, to name a few. It is important that we can encourage and guide each other on the field because we are a team and that it the most critical thing.”
Ellis is aware that Banyana will need to consistently be at their best to make a mark at the World Cup, but she trusts her players will be up for the task.
“This is the stage that players want to play in, we’ve been to back to back Olympics but the World Cup is really where you want your team to be and I’m sure they will go out there & do their best."
Article by Nozibusiso Sibiya