Banyana coach welcomes Nigeria first up

The draw was conducted on Sunday and Banyana have been placed in Group B with Zambia, Kenya and arch-nemesis Nigeria, their first opponents on November 18 at Cape Coast Stadium in Ghana.

Banyana will go into the competition high on confidence after winning the COSAFA Women's Championship on home soil.

“There was never going to be an easy group – all eight teams that have qualified are top quality, and we all know that to be the best, you have to beat the best. We have been anxiously waiting for this draw to take place so that we take our preparations to the next level now that we know who we will face in the tournament,” Ellis told SAFA's website.

“We have played all three teams before, which means we have a good idea of what we are up against – and that does not in any way mean they will be easy, in fact, more to the contrary. But we know what our mission is – to qualify for the World Cup, and that is not negotiable.”

Ellis is happy that Nigeria are their first opponents in the competition.

“Nigeria has won this tournament a record seven times, and they are the defending champions, so they will definiely be sensing victory against us. But we are glad to be meeting them now and not later in the tournament because our last encounter ended in tears for us – we lost 1-0 in the semifinal of this competition in 2016, and that denied us a chance to be at the World Cup.”