Slovenia will provide Banyana Banyana with a stern test

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis during a press conference

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis said there were many pleasing aspects of the side's 3-0 win over Uzbekistan in their opening Turkish Women’s Cup match. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Feb 20, 2023


Cape Town - With World Cup places up for grabs, several Banyana Banyana players raised their hands in the side's clash against Uzbekistan on Saturday evening.

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis said there were many pleasing aspects of the side's 3-0 win over Uzbekistan in their opening Turkish Women’s Cup match.

All the goals were scored in the first half as the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) champions surprised their higher-ranked opponents with an enterprising start. Uzbekistan have a world ranking of 49, Banyana Banyana 54.

"We looked a lot better on defence and now we will work harder on counter-attacks and being counter-attacked," said Ellis.

"All these processes take time and we are not always together as a team but we want to be ready for the big day (the start of the World Cup).

"The first-half plans that we had in place worked well, and players executed. It always works better when players know each better. Overall, we were organised in all departments and that gave us the edge.

"We need to work on finishing because we created a fair amount of scoring chances.

"It was great to see so many players raise their hands with impressive performances. They showed great mentality and character. They want to be part of the World Cup group."

After the side enjoyed a 3-0 half-time lead, the performance in the second half was not as effective but Ellis said it was understandable.

Instead of playing four matches the South Africans will only be in action twice after the withdrawal of teams in the wake of the devastating earthquakes that have killed thousands of people in southern Turkey.

As a result, Ellis brought on several reserves to ensure that everyone in the squad has a chance to play in Turkey. Ellis said it would help the team if the selection net was spread as wide as possible.

"In the second half we lost our way," said Ellis. "The Uzbekistan team also played far better in the second half, and we struggled.

"We have to learn that a match is longer than 45 minutes, and it is something we will work on."

On Tuesday, Banyana Banyana play Slovenia in their second and final match. Slovenia are ranked 46th and should provide the South Africans with a stern test.

"We expect Slovenia to be at a different level and we want to execute our plans," said Ellis.

"Most probably we'll make a few changes but we'll always like to put the best team on the field.

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"We'll look at their (Slovenia) footage and come up with a plan. Defensively they are sound.

"We come to tournaments like this to win and bring improvement performances each time."

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Meanwhile, Danny Jordaan, president of the South African Football Association, has received a thank-you note from the president of the Turkish Football Federation Mehmet Büyükekşi.

The Turkish boss thanked Jordaan for his words of compassion in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes.


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