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Failure To Qualify For Olympics Setback For Women’s Football In S/Africa — Banyana Coach

Failure To Qualify For Olympics Setback For Women’s Football In S/Africa  — Banyana Coach

Banyana Banyana head coach, Desiree Ellis, says their failure to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games is a setback to women’s football in South Africa.

Banyana Banyana were held to a goalless draw against Nigeria’s Super Falcons on Tuesday night at Loftus Stadium.

The result was enough to see the Falcons through having won the first leg in Abuja 1-0.

“It’s a big disappointment not just for us but for everyone involved in women’s football, because we didn’t go in 2020, we were in a similar situation where we had so many chances to – but didn’t go to the next round,” a visibly disappointed Ellis said in her post-match.

“Likewise we didn’t go to the Olympics because of this, it will take a while to recover from this though.”

Also Read: Sports Minister Salutes Super Falcons For Securing Olympics Ticket

It remains to be seen if Ellis will continue as Banyana Banyana head coach.

Ellis led her side to a first-ever African Cup of Nations title in 2022.

Also, she led the team to the round of 16 at the 2023 FIFA women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

For the Falcons it is a return to the Olympics after a 16-year absence.

The last time the nine-time African champions featured at the games was in Beijing 2008.

They will now take on reigning world champions Spain, former World Cup winners Japan and Brazil in Group C.

Under the tutelage of the late Ismailia Mabo, the Falcons reached the quarter-finals at the Athens 2004 Olympic, which is Africa’s best performance at the games.

Meanwhile, Africa will also be represented by Zambia who defeated Morocco 2-0 away also on Tuesday.

The Zambians went into the game on the back of a 2-1 home defeat against the Moroccans.


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COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 27
  • South Africa think say Nigeria na their mate.

    Starting from last week Friday South Africa has started receiving cane from Nigeria.

    Well done Super Falcons.

    God bless you all.

  • South Africa vs Nigeria 0:0 (0:1 aggregate) – deo’s Reflection

    When asked about her game plan for their ill-fated Olympic qualifier campaign, South Africa loquacious coach Ellis said afterwards that she started the game with 3 strikers upfront to score early, bringing the game level on aggregate. Little do she know that Nigerian tactical Guru Randy Waldrum was one step ahead of her.

    When I paused the game in the first half to try to decipher and decode Waldrum’s approach and direction for the match, I was as fascinated as I was intrigued. You see, the American was aware of Ellis ambitions and how she planned to achieve her goal. So, he picked the midfield as his battleground. It’s all well and good for Ellis to position 3 speedy and deadly strikers upfront, but the ball has to get to them first before they can even have a sniff at Nigeria’s 18 yard box.

    So, Waldrum set up Nigeria’s midfield on a ratio of 5 midfielders to South Africa’s 3 midfielders (5:3). Their brief was simple: defend from the front, dominate centre midfield and shield the back four. To further fortify this approach, defenders Alozie and Okeke had overlapping responsibilities. What’s funny is that this is not the overlapping responsibilities one would expect. Rather, Okeke and Alozie were to pick their moments to break out of their defensive wall to augment Nigeria’s midfield so as to further contain South Africa’s attacking ambitions to Nigeria’s midfield at all cost. Once either of the fullbacks tackle and intercept South African players in Nigeria’s midfield, they speedily return to their defensive station as their job is done.

    What was the outcome? South Africa were reduced to speculative, hopeless long range shots in the first half. The could not get into their rhythm and they often struggled to traverse the ball far beyond the centre circle.

    It was yet again another defensive masterclass from Waldrum.

    Fans who know nothing about football would be quick to condemn centre forward Iheuzo yesterday. However, she was isolated on purpose. The wingers meant to deliver crosses; the midfielders to thread through passes; the fullbacks to deliver long balls all had their antennas tune to their defensive responsibilities. By the time Iheuzo receives any service, it is way too heavy or understandably overcooked for her to make anything out of it. She was excused from defensive duties but expected to rub her socks off and make the best use of half chances – which she did.

    In the second half, Coach Ellis had to do something to even the odds. So, she sacrificed one defender to provide additional body in midfield and the flanks giving a ratio of 4:5 (4 South Africans midfielders to 5 Nigerian midfielders). I used the term midfielders loosely because South African extra body upfront helped them operate better on the flanks. This was potentially harmful to Waldrum’s philosophy as it meant spreading out and stretching out our midfielders and full backs than they were comfortable. It was then no surprise that South Africa started delivering dangerous crosses and had more credible attempt at goal.

    To be honest, at some point in the second half I saw South Africa equalizing but it was not to be, we held out and grabbed the only Olympic ticker on offer!

    I thought all the players performed admirably. Abiodun and Ayinde did the heavy lifting in midfield to muscle the opposition off the ball. The attacking midfield infrastructure of Echiegini, Kanu and Ajibade produced performances that succeeded in pinning the South Africans in their own half. Their interactions were well co-ordinated to frustrate South Africa. Iheuzo, the centre forward still delivered deadly runs and pressings though isolated. She injected her role with urgency and intensity which almost resulted in 2 goals. The fantastic 4 at the aback was led by the ubiquitous Okeke who ran herself ragged to augment shore up the midfield whilst not abandoning her primary responsibilities. Ohale, Ucheibe and Alozie earned their wages more in the second half when a change in South African approach meant they had to give no quarter. Nnadozie was unyielding and uncompromising as ever and it would have taken something out of this world to beat her when you consider how defensively dialled in 9 of her 10 outfield players were.

    In all Waldrum succeeded in selecting players who bought into his deceptively ultra-defensive philosophy which wasn’t initially evident in the 4-2-3-1 formation he set up. The integration and interaction of players was seamless. There was harmony and rich tapestry in their multilayered interpretation of Waldrum’s instructions. Their level of concentration was profound. They lived up to the defensive expectations us fans have come to expect from this team by not conceding a single (I mean a single) goal against current African champions. The outcome of the match is a work of passion by players well focused on the tasks on hand with the camaraderie, confidence and class to match any team in world football at the moment.

    You have either paid or sacrifice your time to watch the Super Falcons frustrate the ambitions of their foes and that’s what Waldrum’s women delivered and it is bloody brilliant!

    *

    • mondayodang 2 months ago

      Your analysis is top notch. Thanks dear.

    • Kingsley 2 months ago

      Thank you @Deo… and that’s also a ‘bloody brilliant’ write-up! Well done!

    • This is over analysis. South Africa were too small, and because they are slow, they played right into Nigeria’s scheme. What Ellis should do is to junk all the slow players and go with speed. Zambia has 4 bonafide sprinters in front. These are Racheal Kundananji who was a 400m athlete, Rachael Nachula who was also a sprinter. Barbara Banda, and Grace Chanda are also very fast. The defense and midfielder as also fast, and make up for their tactical mistakes with by retreating faster than the opponent, in numbers..

    • pompei 2 months ago

      Top shelf analysis.
      Waldrum comes out on top this time in his rivalry with Ellis.
      Okeke’s performance at left back must have Plumptre on red alert. Great to see that we have multiple options in several key positions.
      Hopefully, we can make a big splash in Paris. Impossible is nothing!

    • Dr. Drey 2 months ago

      Bravo Deo. Can’t be better stated….!!!

      I’ve followed the Falcons since the mid-90s and this by far is the most tactically organized Falcons I’ve seen…all thanks to Waldrum.

      The man sure knows what he is doing.

      The way and manner he made SA very toothless over both legs raised my respect for him by a notch.

      • To add to your observation, how they dealt with England is still a huge package for me. To the extent that England was so frustrated that they started looking for a penalty.
        They played 120 minutes, and since then our girls have never lost any match within 90 minutes.
        They deserve our respect because they have earned it already. They are very tactical and disciplined. You can never make them play your way. Like the coach said they are going to perfect taking their chances. To be fair to them, they just had 10 to 12 days together the longest ever before the world cup. This last time it was just a day. When they start to take their chances, They will be invisible.

    • fantastic game analysis by Deo. Keep it up, brother. This is top-notch analysis.

    • 9jaRealist 2 months ago

      @deo, with all due respect, there’s absolutely nothing “deceptive” about Randy Waldrum’s “ultra-defensive” (as you rightly put it) philosophy….LOL!

      5 goalless draws in his last 8 SFs’ games (including the England game where we enjoyed a one-player advantage for over half and hour, including the entirety of extra-time, against tiring and tired opponents) is not coincidental. Frankly, defense seems to be the only arrow in his quiver, and (for example) starting 3 DMs against a decidedly pedestrian Cameroon succinctly epitomizes his coaching philosophy. One supposes it’s great to not lose games, but there’s also only so far we will go aspiring to goalless draws (or perhaps hoping to bore the opposition to sleep…LOL!).

      We have more than enough good goal scorers in the Super Falcons’ squad (and available pool of players) that our record of scoring more than 1 goal in just one of those 8 games should be cause for our “Nigerian tactical guru” to be concerned enough to go out and get help for the attacking side of our team. If he’s unable to do so, let’s get someone else who can.

      CONGRATS TO THE COACH AND TEAM FOR QUALIFYING, but hoping to see significant improvement in Paris!

  • Aunti elenu razor. What happened to your better facilities, crowd and nice weather? 

  • Papafem 2 months ago

    Brilliant stuff, @Deo. If no be say Nigeria don spill, CSN should employ @deo to run their commentaries on Nigeria women football. I thoroughly enjoyed the analysis.

    But let me add this: I still feel we miss the services of Ngozi Okobi in that midfield. I love her skill set and resilience. She’s an hybrid of a DM and a CM. I feel we still lack that creativity going forward and this has been largely responsible for our low scoring rate. But I really like this qualification. It’s a great boast for the careers of these players, especially those who dumped their country of birth to play for us. It will also motivate many other players who intend to play for us that this is a country that qualifies for almost every major tournament in women football. Isn’t that the kind of leverage an average player needs to boost her career?

    • Nigeria would not survive Zambia, not because Zambia is technically better- We would punish them with speed. In our games against Morocco, this is the medicine we gave them. Tactically and technically, the Moroccans were very good, but our footspeed destabilised them. This is what South Africa can take from Zambia. There is no reason why Zambia should have faster people than South Africa. We breathe the same air and literally drink the same water. We are equally small, the main difference is that the KhoiSan complement of South Africans is higher than ours.. Come on guys, you can do this.

      • Dr. Drey 2 months ago

        Hahahaha…I guess Zambia are now better than Cameroon, South Africa, England, Ireland and Canada who have all struggled to score against the SF of late….LMAoo.

        Lauren James of England got so frustrated she almost crushed Alozie’s Kidneys. The Cameroonians got so frustrated they started thinking we use juju. The trio of Kgatlana, Seoposenwe and Magaia got so frustrated they started looking for cheap penalties and almost wounded our GK.

        Dont worry, when Waldrum shuts out every space in our half, your marathon runners will have to run outside the football pitch to find spaces to run to. We will see where supplies to your marathon runners will come from when your midfielders can no longer receive passes out from the defence.

        • @ Drey, you even get time to answer am. When them carry “man” (Banda) dey play women football, why e no go dey talk rubbish. If Athletic body could define the limit for women with high testosterone level from competing with other women, I think fifa should do the same. Banda should be tested before every match. That lady plays like a man.

        • If you look at Super Falcons these days, they don’t allow you to play your game, they choke out your space and that makes you look ordinary.
          They are now cool, focused, and play as a team more. all our midfielders can play as defenders and attackers.
          Let the Football Federation do their job, just allow these girls to be together for a complete 2 weeks and see.

  • @Deo, Brilliant analysis.Bravo. Let me quickly add two additional tactics that Waldrum used successfully yesterday.

    First, He gave the bayana bayana no time on the ball particularly in the first half. Our front three defended from the front and never allowed their defenders play from the back.Abiodun and Co did not allow them second touch on the ball to plan anything and they were never allowed to play their game

    The SF were very physical in the match.The Bayana Bayana are small in size,frail and always falling on contact.This greatly disrupted their game plan .

    I think also that Waldrum may have finally found the answers to counter SOuth Africa game and it will take a very long time for Bayana Bayana to beat us again.The momentum have swung in our favor going to Wafcon.

    This same philosophy and tactics can be used to play ball playing teams like Spain and Brazil.We just have to put our chances away when it comes

  • Nigeria would have lost to Zambia, because Zambia would have punished them with speed. In our games against Morocco, this is the medicine we gave them. Tactically and technically, the Moroccans were very good, but our footspeed destabilised them. This is what South Africa can take from Zambia. There is no reason why Zambia should have faster people than South Africa. We breathe the same air and literally drink the same water. We are equally small, the main difference is that the KhoiSan complement of South Africans is higher than ours.. Come on guys, you can do this.

  • @Deo, Thank you for the in-depth analysis.

    @Papafem, Okobi’s case is a sad story. She shut the door on herself with all the insults she rained on Waldrum when she was overlooked before the world cup. We all know that winning is not about knowing how to play football alone. Team’s unity and chemistry is also important. Okeke was busy defending Falcons against criticisms after her exclsion form the world cup team and she was continually identifying as part of the team. Okobi believed Waldrum would fail and messed up big time. However, this team is heavily talented. Echejini is rising really fast and she is still very young. A little more maturity from our Echedinho, Okobi will be completely forgotten. Ucheibe is another utility, fantastic, team player who might end up maturing to fill up Okobi’s shoes if situations require. I really feel for the array of fantastic mid-fielders in the underage teams. This is because it is very difficult for any player to break into Falcons’ present mid-field set up, if the present players ar not injured. And we definitely wish all of them injury-free career.

    @Ehi, I think your last statement summed up everything the team needs to work on. This present Falcons team is growing stronger by the day. They only need to learn to bury their chances. If they can learn to bury their chances, they can challenge any team, I mean any team in the world.

    • Dr. Drey 2 months ago

      Well said Debo.

      But we have to look forward. Okobi’s boat sailed a long time ago.

      You don’t call your coach all sorts of names in the media and still expect to have a place in his team.

      Like you said…she effectively retired herself from the national team. And with the likes of Echegini, Oyenezide, Abiodun and even that little Afolabi girl all coming up and showing glimpses of what they can do, I believe we just need to show them some trust and give them some confidence and opportunities in the team.

      I’ld also like to see that little dribbler sebastine in the team too. She seems to be the only direct winger who has capacities to isolate defenders, take them on 1 v 1 and be a really creative outlet from the wings. We have some strikers with good height in the squad….we should start taking advantage of that too.

    • 9jaRealist 2 months ago

      @Debo, for the record, Okobi NEVER “rained” any insults on Waldrum (nor even criticize him) and has publicly refuted those reports that appeared to have been pulled out of some random Nigerian ‘journalist’s’ (to use the term liberally) backside, and there’s been no evidence or record to contradict her refusal of those reports.

      Nonetheless, based on below-par displays in her last Super Falcons pre-WC friendlies (and that she doesn’t seem to be presently thriving at club level either), I AGREE with those who proffer that we should give her flowers for her great longstanding service to the nation but move on (we don’t want another Ahmed Musa situation).

      Having said that, a creative CM such as Esther Onyenezide should have been in this squad and being groomed as a long-term prospect in that Super Falcon’s creative midfielder role, instead of essentially wasting a spot on RB Alani (albeit she’s a late replacement player) when we already have sufficient RBs in Alozie, N. Payne, and Okeke.

  • Thanks Guys. Much appreciated.

  • @Okobi, @Debo, Okobi’s case is very deep, apart from her talking herself out of the team, She is going 33 years now and married.With her biological clock ticking fast, Would any sensible forward looking coach drop Abiodun 23( she is in direct competition with Okobi) for her? Moreso, Abiodun is performing and she need the Olympic platform to fully announce herself to the world after the unfortunate incident at the last world cup.I believe she will move to a bigger club in Europe after the Olympics.

    @Musi, Your Zambian team will be the easiest to deal with .Your team is not technically and tactly sound like the Moroccan, Ghanaians or South Africans. as you acknowledged. All that need to be done is to cut off supply routes by a well drilled midfiled to both Barbra and Kudaniji and they will run aimlessly for 90 minutes like Kaglana did.

  • Benson 2 months ago

    SMH, most tactically sound team. looool, team that can’t score, a team with no composition is what some are here hailing. Continue to be defensive and be waiting to kick penalties to win games.

    • Papafem 2 months ago

      The only thing you say about this team that will mmake me nod my head a bit is that they aren’t converting their chances. Otherwise, take nothing away from them, bro. Australia, Canada and England aren’t minow in female football. These are super powers in the game. Keeping them quiet and making them Look so ordinary is a bug testament that there is a lot of organization in that Nigerian team. It’s a team that’s close being fully formed and the coach knows this missing link. Coming up to tell us that they aren’t scoring enough and that they are working on it should tell you that by the time they get that right with the current defensive solidity, the sky will be lomit

  • To add to your observation, how they dealt with England is still a huge package for me. To the extent that England was so frustrated that they started looking for a penalty.
    They played 120 minutes, and since then our girls have never lost any match within 90 minutes.
    They deserve our respect because they have earned it already. They are very tactical and disciplined. You can never make them play your way. Like the coach said they are going to perfect taking their chances. To be fair to them, they just had 10 to 12 days together the longest ever before the world cup. This last time it was just a day. When they start to take their chances, They will be invisible.

    • 9jaRealist 2 months ago

      “Huge package” indeed! LMAO…

      We had a one player advantage for over 30 minutes (including the entirety of extra-time) against a tiring England team and could hardly create a decent goal scoring chance, much less score. Yes, Waldrum has improved the team defensively but football is played in halves – offensive and defensive – and there’s only so far we can go belaboring GOALLESS draws. Accordingly, I co-sign those who have suggested that Waldrum should add an attacking specialist assistant coach.

      In the last eight (8) Super Falcons’ games under Waldrum, we have had FIVE (8) goalless draw (and if we’re to be brutally honest, hardly of the exciting variety), and have scored more than one goal in only one of those 8 games. Progress  in life usually starts with stopping the bleeding (in this instance, stop leaking careless goals) and thereafter build upon it. Waldrum has stopped the bleeding but apparently needs assistance to build thereupon.

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