Desiree Ellis says Banyana will learn a lot against strong, organised Serbia

07 April 2023 - 14:00
Banyana Banyana players during the training session at University of Johannesburg on 05 April 2023.
Image: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix Banyana Banyana players during the training session at University of Johannesburg on 05 April 2023.

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis believes Serbia will give her side a good idea of what they will be up against in the Fifa World Cup later this year.  

The Women’s African Cup of Nations winners are set to jostle with Serbia in a friendly match scheduled for the city of Stara Pazova on Monday (1.30pm).  

Banyana are gearing up for their second appearance at the World Cup after making their debut back in 2019 in France and Serbia forms a part of that preparation.  

This year’s World Cup will be co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia from July 20.  

The South Africans, who are yet to win their first match in the world showpiece, are in a tough group together with Sweden, Italy and Argentina.   

Ellis said they have picked Serbia to test them because the European country possesses a lot of similarities as those sides they will face.  

“Serbia is physically strong and that is something similar to what you are going to get from Italy, Sweden and we know that Argentina can be physically as well,” Ellis said.  

“They have very good strikers that are quick and very organised. I mean it’s not easy to beat a team like Germany in the qualifiers.   

“We are working hard on our defensive organisation and attacking structure. We are looking to see where we are at in terms of that. These things take a while and that’s why we have started already, looking at how we are going to play,” she said.  

“We might not have a lot of the ball against Serbia, so we are looking to see how we can play without the ball and when we do get the ball that’s when we need to make sure we find our players in transition because of the goals have been scored on transition, but we need to be better.”  

Ellis has had to deal with a few withdrawals from her side due to injuries and other issues.  

Defenders Bambanani Mbane and Tiisetso Makhubela withdrew from the camp due to the illness of close family members.   

Nthabiseng Majiya and Tshegofatso Motlogelwa have also withdrawn from the camp due to injury. The team is set to leave the country for Serbia on Thursday. 

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