Banyana coach Ellis frustrated by missed chances after Olympics shock

04 September 2019 - 11:19 By Nick Said
South Africa coach Desiree Ellis and team during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Women's Qualifier match between South Africa and Botswana at Orlando Stadium on September 03, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
South Africa coach Desiree Ellis and team during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Women's Qualifier match between South Africa and Botswana at Orlando Stadium on September 03, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has expressed her frustration at the wastefulness of her side following their shock exit from the 2020 Olympic Games qualifiers at the hands of Botswana on Tuesday night.

The tie ended 0-0 after 210 minutes of football‚ which included a period of extra time‚ with Botswana triumphing 3-2 in the penalty shootout to stun a Banyana side who just a few months ago were competing at the Fifa Women’s World Cup in France.

Botswana‚ fresh from a two-week camp in Slovakia‚ clearly came with a plan to frustrate their more illustrious opponents and offered nothing going forward. However they managed to hang on as South Africa‚ without Caf Women’s Footballer of the Year Thembi Kgatlana‚ proved wasteful in front of goal.

“We had so many chances and you cannot even score one ... ” Ellis said.

“The penalty shootout is always a lottery. It is disappointing for all us. We have spoken in the past about chances that we needed take and it seemed too easy to miss them. It is just not a good day for us.

“In this game alone we could have been 4-0 or 5-0 up at half time. We had more chances in this game than we had in Botswana. They came with the plan to frustrate us‚ yet we still opened them up enough to create the chances.

“When you have the goal gaping and you don’t put the ball in the back the net. You hit the post‚ you go into a penalty shootout and you don’t do well in the shootout either. It is a disaster.”

Banyana will now have no global qualifiers for several years with the next World Cup only in 2023. But they will seek to qualify for the 2020 Africa Cup of Nations in Congo and Ellis says they will now sit down and take stock of where the team is at.

“We will sit down and have a look at the way forward. We have to lift the players –they are all disappointed‚” she said.

“Football is like that – you have your ups and your downs and this is very definitely a down moment for us. But you have to show your character‚ we have to take care of each other at this moment and look forward.

“We never took anything for granted‚ we worked hard on our finishing‚ combination play and the defensive side.

“Today we created more chances than I can ever remember and it is disappointing that we did not put one in the net‚ and the result is us being out.”

Ellis said she needs the support of club coaches to assist with what is clearly a national epidemic in front of goal.

“We have been working on our finishing. It comes with confidence and players working outside of camp.

“Camp is a week and we have to prepare a team in all aspects of the game. So coaches out there [at clubs] have to also help us in doing finishing‚ because sometimes in the Sasol League it becomes so easy to score‚ because nobody challenges you and you are not put under pressure.

“I don’t think it is just a problem for Banyana Banyana. It is a problem in all our national teams and the [men’s PSL] league also‚ where our leading scorer has 12 goals. It is something we really need to fix.”

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