Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis is proud of her team because of the effort it has put in in the three Women’s World Cup matches it played before being knocked out. The national senior women’s football team, the lowest ranked in its group, lost all three matches against its highly-ranked opponents Spain, China and Germany, to bow out without registering a single point in Group B.
The last of their three matches ended in a 4-0 loss at the hands of the second-best team in the world Germany, in Montpellier on Monday, which Ellis says was largely due to the mistakes they made in the game. ”We spoke about marking and I think that was poor today. The first goal, free header; the second goal, a mistake at the back, the third goal, not tracking the runner; and I said if we win the centre of the midfield battle we can win this game and we did not, in the first half.”
Ellis, though, also picked up the good that the team did in the match: “I thought the team as a whole really fought out there, but I also thought we started playing the way we know we can play. A lot of players before the World Cup might not have been regulars in team but they really stood out, really raised their hands. And I’ve spoken about us having a squad of 23 and it was proven – players that come on make a completely new effect on the team and it’s happened all the time.”
Banyana, who were making their debut at the tournament in France, also lost 3-1 to Spain in Le Havre before being edged 1-0 by China in Paris. They are ranked 49th in the world, a far cry from even Spain and China, who are ranked 13th and 16th, respectively.
Ellis, a former captain of the team, says their ranking did not influence how they played against their much fancied opponents, though. “This team doesn’t know any fear. This team, no matter who they face, they always believe it’s 11 v 11, and it doesn’t matter what the score line is, they just continue playing, they just go and go, at the end give their all, and that’s all you can ask.”
“You know, whether you get the result or you don’t get the result, that’s all you can ask that there’s an effort there,” adds the coach.
Banyana’s next game is an Olympics 2020 qualifier, first leg against Botswana in late August.