Banyana coach Desiree Ellis bemoans poor finishing in friendly against Jamaica

08 April 2019 - 12:18 By Nick Said
Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis and captain Janine van Wyk.
Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis and captain Janine van Wyk.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has bemoaned her side’s finishing during their 1-1 friendly international draw with Jamaica as they move closer to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France in June and July.

Banyana‚ who also failed to convert a penalty by Leandra Smeda‚ let a lead 1-0 slip to extend their winless run to eight matches and they missed out on what could have been a morale-boosting win against another World Cup participant.

“I felt that after we scored‚ through Linda Motlhalo‚ we had control of the game‚ but we gave the ball away in a silly fashion in key areas‚” Ellis said.

“If we had gone 2-1 up‚ we could have controlled the game then. We kept on pushing by creating opportunities but a leg or the post got in the way.

“I thought the first half we dealt well with everything‚ we are always very organised at the back and the players must take credit for that because they put in the hard work. We do need to minimise our mistakes‚ but I thought everybody put in a magnificent effort‚ we really worked for each other.”

Ellis gave a run to her squad by making a number of substitutions and she was pleased with the contribution of many off the bench.

“A lot of players raised their hands again‚ we made a lot of changes and the players that came on changed the game in a positive way. That helps us with our thinking.”

She admits that a victory would have been a timely boost ahead of the World Cup.

“Winning the game gives you confidence and momentum‚ but we didn’t lack effort. We wanted to go for the win and created opportunities. Winning gives you that little more confidence‚ it would have been fantastic to do that.

“We look at the bigger picture and that is the World Cup. We are happy with the effort‚ but there is still a concern that we are not scoring enough goals with the chances that we create.

“We have asked the players to go home and work on their finishing‚ the onus is on the players to work on that. We needed a little bit more composure in the box.”

Captain Janine van Wyk says they will now look ahead to their May 12 meeting with world champions United States which is their final full international before the World Cup in France.

“It is going to be a tough challenge‚ it will give us an indication of where we are at‚” Van Wyk said.

“As players we are excited to travel there. Going to play against a quality team and quality players‚ gives us that mind-set that we have nothing to lose and we can learn as much as we can.”

Van Wyk says they are fully aware of the quality they will face at the World Cup‚ but they cannot yet turn their attention to that tournament.

“We know what our opponents are about‚ we watched Spain in the Cyprus Cup‚ the Chinese we have played before and the Germans‚ we know what quality they are.

“But for us‚ we obviously work on what is ahead of us for now. We have in the back of our minds the knowledge of what we will face. But we can’t be talking about Spain yet‚ we need to compete against the US.” Van Wyk also gave her side praise despite the draw with Jamaica‚ saying the preparations leading up to the game had also been invaluable.

“I am extremely happy with the performance of the players‚ especially after a disappointing tournament in Cyprus. We really stepped up this whole week‚ the training was tough and everybody worked extremely hard.

“There was not one player that slacked at all‚ it shows the maturity in our team. Even the younger players stepped up and gave us older players a good run. It was competitive‚ fun and enjoyable.”