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Mentor satisfied with rusty Banyana's winning start in Cosafa tourney

Desiree Ellis hopes for better play against Eswatini

Amir Chetty Sports reporter
Desiree Ellis
Desiree Ellis
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis will not let grass grow under the feet of her players as she is already looking ahead to their next fixture in the Cosafa Women’s Championships.

The defending champions registered an opening round 2-0 triumph over Angola in their opening match played at the Isaac Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday after goals from Lonathemba Mhlongo and Karabo Dhlamini gave SA a flying start to the competition.

In what can only be seen as a major confidence boost to their hopes of progressing further in the competition, Ellis’s charges now turn their attention to the challenge Eswatini will pose when they meet tomorrow.

“We needed to spread the ball around a bit more than we did. We knew they would congest the midfield, so we knew where the spaces were and at times we played the ball quite well behind the fullbacks, where the spaces were.

“As the game went on we really started to control it even more, trying to draw them out because they were sitting back. They did have a few opportunities but we knew that if we could keep a clean sheet we had a good chance of winning the game, which we did in the end,” Ellis said in a post-match interview.

Asked what positives she took from her team’s performance, Ellis was happy with the way her side had managed to control the game at various stages.

“We are a team that passes the ball around and at times we pass it around very well. We also asked players not to force it and wait for the right moment.

“The rustiness really showed in the beginning but as the game went on we got better. We created a few opportunities and we can only build from that.

“The first game is always the most difficult. We had practically a new group of players for the first time at the tournament. This is behind us now and we will work towards the next game and try to be better in all areas of our play,” the Banyana mentor said.

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