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Ellis: Banyana Banyana need to stay focused

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis wants her charges to raise their level when the defending Cosafa Women's Cup champions begin their title defence in Port Elizabeth this week.

FILE: Banyana Banyana during a training session. Picture: @Banyana_Banyana/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis wants her charges to raise their level when the defending Cosafa Women's Cup champions begin their title defence in Port Elizabeth this week.

Ellis named 20 players to represent South Africa and made six changes to the squad that participated at the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup in France.

There were no overseas-based players as the competition did not fall on the Fifa calendar dates. Spain-based forward Ode Fulutudilu, though, was the only overseas-based player available for the tournament as she was set for a move to a new club.

Banyana Banyana were drawn in Group A alongside the Comoros Islands, Malawi and Madagascar.

Ellis said that her players needed to bring their best from the get-go.

"I think it's important we come with that same attitude because also as the defending champions any team that plays don't need a motivation to play well against you. So it's important to use this to show what we've learnt in the World Cup and show why we were there - we need to make sure that we bring our top form in every game," said Ellis.

"What is important is that we raise our level to make other teams raise theirs when we meet. That's going to be key for us because sometimes you come to a tournament like Cosafa region tournament and players think less of the tournament - so you have to make sure that they stay focused. They need to make sure and realise that this tournament helped us to get to the World Cup."

The tournament runs from 31 July to 11 August.