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Ellis downplays Banyana's AWCON chances

South Africa head coach Desiree Ellis has refused to entertain title talk despite Banyana Banyana's strong start to the Africa Women Cup of Nations.

Ellis's side are on the brink of the semi-finals after winning their first two matches at the biennial showpiece in Ghana, demonstrating the conviction that led them to the COSAFA Cup earlier this year.

Chrestina Kgatlana scored the only goal of the game as they downed 10-time champions Nigeria in their opener, before demolishing Equatorial Guinea 7-1 three days later.

"It would be dismissive of me to talk about anything outside the next game which is Zambia," Ellis told ESPN.

"If you take your eye off the ball and start looking forward, you lose your focus and your goal," she added. "The goal for the whole team is to go to the World Cup.

"Our main focus is to qualify for the World Cup, that for us is important," Ellis continued. "Qualifying to the World Cup would take our football in our country to a different level, it will bring happiness to the whole of South Africa.

"However, we don't want to get ahead of ourselves, and just keep it game by game; welcoming one game and then get it out of the way."

South Africa will progress to the final four if they avoid defeat against Zambia in their final group game, although both the Shepolopolo and the Super Falcons could qualify ahead of them with wins, depending on the head-to-head record.

"You can't get ahead of yourself and lose focus, because before you know it, you're out of the competition," Ellis continued.

"We just want play from the beginning of the whistle of the game until the end of the game, because it's going to take that huge effort to reach our goals.

"We've played Zambia a couple of times and it's not going to be an easy game. Zambia are a pretty good side but we will have a look at the footage and analyse, because that's important for us.

"Then we will work out how we can play to get the result we want."

Kgatlana has been a key figure for Banyana so far, scoring a fine goal against Nigeria before netting twice in the demolition of Equatorial Guinea.

"Thembi is quick, she does the unexpected," Ellis concluded. "In the first half [against Zambia], she had a couple of opportunities, some easy ones, didn't put them away, but then she scores a difficult one.

"She is a player that keeps defenders on their toes more than anything, and she's not afraid to do anything.

"That's important for her, but all that is in the framework of teamwork, because the individuals always shine when the team does well."


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