Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis believes that her side’s haphazard defending let them down in their 5-1 hammering at the hands of Netherlands.
Durban – Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis believes that her side’s haphazard defending let them down in their 5-1 hammering at the hands of Netherlands at the Cars Jeans Stadion in The Hague on Tuesday night.
The one positive that Banyana can take from the game is that they were very competitive against the fifth ranked Dutch until the end of the first half, though they thereafter fell apart.
“I felt that our defending at times let us down. We also created chances. At crucial times when it looked like we would come back, we conceded. After half-time, we had an opportunity to change the score line and didn’t take chances like the penalty miss. At times I felt that we did not put the ball on the ground as well as we would have liked,” said Ellis.
Ellis did indicate that the game was more about learning for her side than the actual result. Many players appeared to be struggling for match fitness as there was evidently not much support for Thembi Kgatlana who posed serious problems to the Dutch defence in the first half, even notching an equalizer to make the score 1-1.
“We wanted to see how the team plays under pressure. A lot of players needed to be tested and we were duly tested. We are hoping that the league starts as soon as possible because we can then give players game time.
“We were playing against a team that had their best players on the park against us. We managed to contain them but in the end, tiredness got the better of us. We didn’t handle the set-pieces very well. The scoreline was not good but the performance showed us what we need to do,” said Ellis.
The main purpose of the game was to give Banyana much needed practice ahead of the Africa Women Cup of Nations that gets under way in July. After finishing as runners-up to Nigeria in 2018, Ellis’ charges will be aiming to go all the way in the tournament and win it this year.
A top four finish at the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations will also earn the South Africans an opportunity to play in the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.