The sixth edition of the Cosafa Women’s Cup starts in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday. Host nation and defending champions, South Africa are in Group A, and will take on Madagascar in the late game at Wolfson Stadium. The other teams in the Group, Botswana and Malawi will kick off the proceedings.

The Indian Ocean islander looks less formidable, as compared to the other teams in the group. However, despite their lowly ranked status, they will draw inspiration from their countrymen, who held the strong Senegal side to a two all draw, in an African Cup of Nations qualifier last Sunday.

Banyana Banyana skipper, Desiree Ellis, says as defending champions and the host, the pressure is on them, to start the campaign with a win.

“Winning gives you that confidence and playing well also gives you the confidence. So its about getting results, put up a good performance. That will really set the tone for Afcon. Players in the squad are just playing to win the trophy, they also want to make the Afcon squad.”

Vice captain and mid-fielder, Refiloe Jane, says they’re not taking their opponents lightly

“We had a good look at our opponents Madagascar. We know that they are not physical but they have good players, their goal keeper is very good. We are not going to underestimate any team in the tournament, every team is going for a win so it’s not going to be easy for anyone.”

Banyana captain and defender, Janine van Wyk, mid-fielder Linda Mothlalo and striker Thembi Kgatlane are likely to miss the opening match. The three players were released late by their USA club Houston Dash, and are reported to be on their way to South Africa.

Meanwhile, in other developments – Chuene Morifi has been roped in to replace the injured Tisetso Makhubela.