Durban – Despite their 3-1 win over Mozambique in the Cosafa Women’s Championship, Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis believes that her South African team need to be more lethal ahead of their semi-final on Thursday.
However, Ellis was happy with the mental strength shown by her team.
“We started really well and could have been 2-0 up within the first five to 10 minutes,” said Ellis.
“After we scored, we took our foot off the pedal. That is the time that you need to control and make the opponents play to your tempo,” she added.
“We defended poorly to concede and we knew that we needed to win. Everyone that played today showed up.”
Sibulele Holweni was the heroine on the day for Banyana as she scored two goals.
Ellis paid tribute to the 20-yearold, who has a good record at the tournament given that she was the top scorer in the 2019 edition with eight goals.
“We always encourage our players to take their chances when they are in a goal-scoring position,” said Ellis.
“We had a similar chance against Angola. I spoke to her (Holweni) and told her that she needs to hit the ball towards the far post. She actually hit it towards the far post.
“I told her to toe-poke the ball towards the far post and that is what she did.
“We’ve seen her score from setpieces and it’s fantastic that players grab opportunities. Anyone in our team that gets an opportunity to score should score,” the coach added.
While Ellis saw an improvement in the performance from her team following their 0-0 draw with Angola on Friday, she believes they can get better.
“We want to give more players an opportunity, but when games are tight that cannot happen,” she said.
“We’ve worked a lot on free-kicks. They did not come off earlier in the tournament, but they came off today.
“There was definitely improvement, but it has to be even better in the semi-final in all departments. There are no second chances in a semi-final. We haven’t keep a clean sheet other than the draw with Angola. We have to be better because there is room for improvement,” said Ellis.
Banyana will be favourites to win the championship. They have dominated the tournament since its inception in 2002, having won it seven out of eight times. The only time that they did not win it was when they were runners-up to Zimbabwe in 2011.