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Ellis: ‘We are going to treat the match against Mali as a final’

Now Desiree Ellis’ side knows that a win in the semifinals against Mali will secure them a place in a World Cup for the first time ever.

FILE: Desiree Ellis (with the ball) during a Banyana Banyana training session. Picture: Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Banyana Banyana and Mali have their sights firmly set on qualification for next year’s Women’s Fifa World Cup in France when they meet in a crucial Afcon Women’s semifinal at the South Coast Stadium in Ghana on Tuesday.

Banyana booked the semifinal clash with Mali after finishing top of Group B, unbeaten in their three games against Nigeria who they beat 1-0, a 7-1 thrashing of Equatorial Guinea and a 1-1 draw against Zambia in their final match of the group.

Now Desiree Ellis’ side knows that a win in the semifinals against Mali will secure them a place in a World Cup for the first time ever and the former captain says that the approach for the match will be that of an actual final.

“We know that it is a do or die match. It's like our final and we really need to be at our best. It is going to take a performance like the Nigeria type of performance to really get a result and finally realise our dream of going to the World Cup.”

The Banyana mentor, who has had a stellar tenure since stepping into the role on a permanent basis earlier this year, which has included a second consecutive Cosafa Cup title, knows that the West African ladies will not be a pushover for her side.

“They are a tough side, the beat the hosts Ghana to be here and ran Cameroon very close so we know what we are up against when we play Mali on Tuesday. They are a typical West African side, physical and very tactical so we are going to have to play very well to get a good result against them.”

A loss for Banyana won't entirely mean that they will lose out of a plane ticket to France, but they will have to win their third and fourth playoff match and finish third in the competition to go with the runners-up and the eventual winners of the Women’s Afcon.

Kickoff at the South Coast Stadium is at 20:30 South African time.