Ellis feels Banyana unlucky to draw after controlling Senegal match

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis. | BackpagePix

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis. | BackpagePix

Published Jun 3, 2024



Banyana Banyana will look to redeem themselves when they clash with hosts Senegal tomorrow in a second international friendly match at Stade Lat Dior in Thiès, Senegal.

Saturday’s clash ended in a 1-1 draw at the same stadium and the result would have been hard to swallow since the visiting South Africans were top in most facets of the game played at a venue some 70km away from the capital, Dakar.

It was a game coach Desiree Ellis felt they should have won since they had foreseen what tactics Senegal would resort to in the match. Ellis fielded an untried combination that was chosen with the express purpose of building a team for the future.



"Look, I think we were in complete control. We knew exactly what Senegal was going to do. We knew they were going to play the long ball, and we dealt very well with that," said Ellis.

“We had a few opportunities and then we took the lead through Nthabiseng Majiya (in the 68th minute).

“I am very proud of the players.

“From the last (Olympic qualifier) match against Nigeria, we only brought 12 players. From that starting line-up, we fielded six players who didn’t regularly enjoy game time. We gave them game time because we wanted to test them.”

It was Banyana Banyana’s first outing since losing to Nigeria in April in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games qualifiers.

Sundowns defender Lebohang Ramalepe captained the side and midfielder Amogel Motau was handed a rare start. The side was a blend of youth and experience, and played well in patches.

Poor finishing and an inability to strike up a cohesive playing pattern cost them in the end against lowly Senegal, who are some 20 places below Banyana Banyana in the world rankings.

“We knew they were gonna be physical and because we’re so short, we planned to play the ball around. I think we played a very good game of football.

“Unfortunately, we conceded right at the end – a penalty in referee’s optional time," said Ellis.

One area the team will be looking to show improvement on tomorrow will be in defence.

“We didn’t hold the last couple of minutes. We needed to defend better and make sure that we play the ball in their half,” said Ellis.

“I was a bit disappointed with Senegal because they’ve got good players you can see can play but all they did was play the long ball and that helped us.

“I think in the first half we had a lot of possession but we didn’t progress … because there was no movement up front, we did not create options up front.

“We changed the formation in the second half to give us that option. We created one or two chances, and we didn’t take them.”

Related Topics:

banyana banyanasoccer