Banyana coach Desiree Ellis training the Banyana team

Banyana coach reacts to heartbreaking defeat in World Cup opener

Home » Banyana coach reacts to heartbreaking defeat in World Cup opener

Banyana Banyana coach has Desiree Ellis has reacted to the heartbreaking defeat to Sweden in their FIFA Women’s World Cup opener in Wellington, New Zealand, on Sunday.

Ellis charges, regarded as the tournament’s dark horses put up a brave fight against third-ranked team Sweden, who snatched a last-gasp 2-1 win. 

Banyana opened the scoring in the 48th minute through Hildah Magaia. However, Lebohang Ramalepe netted an own goal in the 68th minute, with Sweden’s Ilestedt scoring the winning goal in the last minute of the game.

Ellis was pleased with the efforts of her troops despite throwing a 1-goal lead to end up losing. 

And with a loss in their first game in Group G, Banyana are now under pressure to get a positive result against 28th-ranked Argentina and 16th-ranked Italy.

Banyana Banyana in action


“A lot of positives to take away from this game. I thought we were really good on the ball,” said Ellis. 

“We worked a lot on defence and also worked a lot of setpieces. And I thought we handled those two areas really well. 

“We worked a lot on our transitions as well and protecting the ball. I think maybe we should have protected the little more on occasions or even spread it more when we had the opportunity.

“I thought that everything they threw at us, we handled it very well. I think our transactions were really good, but decision-making in the final third could have been better on occasions, and we could have been in.

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“When we scored, we still had control of the game. I think the own goal came at an unfortunate time, and that put us back a bit.

“We always knew that physically they were always going to challenge us, especially aerially. But I thought we handled that extremely well throughout the game.

Ellis added: “I’m really proud of the players. We had a game plan, and we played according to the game plan. But we didn’t take our chances.

“And being the side that Sweden is, they had players with resilience, and they kept coming at us. However, I felt like our defence and everyone else played well but just couldn’t hold on till the end.”

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