Having travelled for two days and with only two days to prepare for the friendly match, coach Desiree Ellis said she took a lot of positives from this encounter. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

FUKUOKA – After two months of inactivity, Banyana Banyana suffered a 2-0 defeat to hosts Japan on Sunday, in Fukuoka.

Having travelled for two days and with only two days to prepare for the friendly match, coach Desiree Ellis said she took a lot of positives from this encounter.

“I felt that after being dormant for two months that we needed to be on top of our game and I think for the first 20 minutes we showed intent.

"We were compact and organised but it takes that one moment to make a mistake and get punished,” she said.

Ellis reflected on two errors that led to Japan’s two goals.

“We spoke of minimising our mistakes and there was one moment where we were not switched on and we got punished. 

"But overall, we played our type of football and at times I thought we troubled the Japanese defence. I also thought when Thembi (Kgatlana) broke, we didn’t have enough support for her.

“I think the Japanese fans will go away and say it was a good game, this is a good side and as you saw, we play a similar way they play. They are slightly ahead of us but I am happy with the performance but not the result.”

Ellis said the travel and time difference affected the team as well.

“The long travel affected our preparation. The jetlag has been a problem for some players. shake off that. There was no time to test our physical condition in such a short space of time. 

Meanwhile, Leandra Smeda said picking up a 100th cap was a dream come true.

“It was a good game and we played well. We knew it was going to be tough. 

"We created some chances but we made some mistakes and we got punished. The coach had warned us that we make a mistake against Japan, we will pay the price and that is what happened.

"But for me, it was great to get my 100th cap against Japan and I enjoyed the game,” she said. 

African News Agency (ANA)