Banyana Banyana need to match the fast pace of their high level opposition in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup for satisfactory outcomes in their matches. This is according to coach Desiree Ellis who was speaking ahead of their opening match of the tournament against Spain in Le Havre, France.
She added that they also need to guard against conceding first, which has been their challenge in the preparation matches they have played this year.
— Thabiso Sithole (@ThabisoSithole) June 8, 2019
Banyana Banyana have played against mostly top ranked countries teams leading up to the World Cup. In almost all of those fixtures, they found themselves on the back-foot having allowed the opposition to score first. To overcome this challenge, Ellis feels they need to be slightly quicker in their approach on and off the ball.
“Sometimes we get rushed in giving away the ball quickly in the Norway Game for example in the USA game, giving free kicks away things happen quickly and not being able to cover each other, not being able to cut out the cross, passing to the opponent when you get rushed and pressed very quickly. Those are the lot of things we picked up happens faster for a lot players,” says Ellis.
Part of the World Cup preparations was to ensure that each individual player is able to focus for the entire duration whilst on the park. In the build-up matches to the global spectacle, Ellis picked up, that it was an aspect of the game that influenced the results.
“To help with the mental strength is the players we have around each other especially the experienced ones who will try and drive and push everything like they did in qualifying for the World Cup it’s going to be key. Everybody reacts to situations or take it in your stride and it’s another game that what we have to guard against to try and keep the players as calm as possible”, says Ellis.
Ellis has not been consistent with her starting 11 in the matches leading up to the World Cup. She is, however, expected to go for the more experienced group against Spain.
Last year our National Women’s Football Team @Banyana_Banyana made history by qualifying for their very 1st @FIFAWWC. Today at 18:00 they make their #FIFAWWC debut against Spain & I urge all of us to support them fully as they represent our nation.
All the best @Banyana_Banyana pic.twitter.com/89u41Mt5QR
— Min. Nathi Mthethwa (@NathiMthethwaSA) June 8, 2019