South Africa coach Desiree Ellis believes there were positives to take from their 5-1 friendly international loss to the Netherlands on Tuesday as they prepare for the 2022 CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in July.
Tembi Kgatlana netted for Banyana Banyana in a bright opening, but the experience of the Dutch, one of the leading sides in women’s football, shone through in the end.
But despite the result, there will be plenty of lessons learned and it was a worthwhile exercise, according to Ellis.
“I felt at times our defending let us down, but we also created a few chances and in crucial moments when we looked like we were getting back into the game, we conceded,” Ellis says.
“Immediately after halftime we had an opportunity to change the scoreline, we missed a penalty to make it 2-3 and then another chance from Tembi that would have made it 3-3. Then we would be back in the game.
“It was about us trusting ourselves on the ball, but I felt we did not put the ball on the ground often enough. When we did, we looked good. At times we gave the ball away unnecessarily.
“We wanted to see how the team plays under pressure. We have a lot of players who need to be tested, and we were, physically and mentally. They [Netherlands] had their best players on the park against us.
“We managed to largely contain them, but towards the end it was just tiredness, and we didn’t handle the set-pieces very well. We are not happy with the scoreline, but the performance … in patches we showed what we can do.”