Banyana coach Ellis explains the reasons behind her side's 7-2 thumping by Norway
Desiree Ellis says there were a number of factors in Banyana Banyana’s 7-2 defeat to Norway in their final warm-up match ahead of the Fifa Women’s World Cup in France on Sunday‚ but admits the side will have to sharpen up in defence or face a humbling experience at the global showpiece tournament.
Banyana were 5-0 down at halftime against the Scandinavian side‚ but did rally in the second period‚ showing better organisation‚ spirit and potency in front of goal.
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The start of the match was delayed by 75 minutes after Banyana were caught in heavy traffic‚ which Ellis said derailed their mental preparation for the game.
“It was not a good day in the office‚ but there were a few circumstances leading up to that‚” Ellis said.
“A trip [to the stadium] that should have taken one-and-a-half hours took way more than that. We left at 17h00 and got there at 20h45 … the game started at 21h15 so everything was rushed.
“Yet we could have still done better. We should have done our tasks better. Some of the goals we concede were really poor. We spoke about who the danger players were going to be‚ but we didn’t pick them up. We were very loose at times‚ not tracking players.
“On the plus side we scored two really good goals‚ but we still have to look at ourselves. We spoke about minimising the mistakes and tonight there were too many.”
Banyana conceded four times in the opening 20 minutes‚ continuing their recent trend of starting games poorly‚ something Ellis says they must fix before their World Cup opener against Spain on June 8.
“The first 20 minutes was terrible‚ we didn’t do justice to ourselves. We took a look at ourselves at halftime‚ we came out spirited and on top of scoring two goals‚ we had other chances. We put up a big fight in the second half‚” the coach said.
“We really have to start better‚ there are too many times that we lose the game in the first 30 minutes. We come back and we score goals‚ but we are so far behind that we can’t catch up. We need to be a bit more concentrated.
“We will have a look at the footage and we really need to be critical about what we could have done better‚ and in that I speak about everyone. And call each other out‚ because this is the World Cup we are talking about.
”We always talk about helping each other on the field and I thought that we did not do that. The player on the ball did not have support so many times.
"We have done a lot of exercises to improve on that and when we did do that we created some really good opportunities.”
Ellis hopes that the better second half will mean the final result does not leave too much of a lasting damage to the psyche of the players ahead of the World Cup.
“At halftime‚ when they walked in‚ all their heads were down. Second half we were better‚ our support‚ tackling‚ defending and forays into final third were all better. That spirited second half will be a morale-booster.
“Coming back like that in the second half shows we have guts and character‚ but we have to sustain that for the full 90 minutes.”
After Spain‚ Banyana will meet China on June 13 and close their pool against Germany four days later.
The defeat to Norway means the side have now gone 10 games without a win‚ losing six and drawing four of those.