Serbia game will prepare SA for World Cup – Ellis

Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis is upbeat about the kind of competition and test that Serbia will give to her team ahead of the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup in July.

The South African Football Association (Safa) has secured another international friendly for the African champions as they seek to make an impression at the World Cup that will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

Ellis’s team, who recently featured in the Turkish Women’s Cup, are drawn in Group G alongside Sweden, Italy and Argentina. They have also beefed up the technical team with the addition of former Banyana star Shilene Booysen as technical adviser, with Simphiwe Dludlu and Thinasonke Mbuli serving as assistants to Ellis.

“Serbia are a top European country and they are highly ranked. They recently had a good result against Germany and also beat Russia, who are ranked 26 in the world. We are already working on how we want to play against European teams and it helps us improve and how to work towards the first game in the World Cup,” Ellis said at the Fifa trophy parade in Soweto.

“Even though Serbia are not going to the World Cup, we saw the results they got against top teams. We have a 32-player preliminary squad that we have chosen for this upcoming camp and 26 local players will go into camp on March 27. We all know this is a very big year for women’s football and when the final 23-player travelling party to the World Cup is announced, we want to make sure that when we meet up with the other players that we’ve pushed them to a different level.”

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