Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis feels participating in this year's Cyprus Cup means more than it has in the past, as they prepare for the FIFA World Cup later this year.
Banyana are determined to give a good account of themselves in the competition which will kick off on February 26, which would give them confidence going into the World Cup in France. The World Cup will be played from June 7 to July 7.
Banyana have once again been invited to take part in the Cyprus Cup and they've been drawn. The change in format means all the countries competing in the competition have a chance of winning the cup. Previously a select few groups had the chance to fight for gold.
The 12 invited teams were divided into three groups of four, then the highest ranked teams would be in Group A and B and these were the teams that would contend for the championship.
This year, however, all teams will be able to battle it out for the championship and this pleases Ellis.
Banyana are in group B with Czech Republic, Korea DPR and Finland, their first opponents on February 27.
"This is a very good tournament where you actually get to face good teams, and what makes this even more exciting is that it comes as we are preparing for a huge event like the World Cup. We have come a long way and this competition has helped every step of the way, as we have grown over the years of participation, " said Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis.
"We really appreciate that we are one of the 12 nations across the world who gets to be invited, because it is an indication that we are doing something right – and that means a lot. The other positive this year is that the format has changed to give every team a fighting chance to win the trophy, whereas previously only a few had that opportunity. Now there's even more to play for – to prepare for the World Cup and also attempt to win the trophy, now that is very exciting."
Banyana have featured in the competition in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2018.