Sun. Sep 20th, 2020

Proud Ellis happy Banyana have put WC nerves to bed

Banyana Banyana Ellis France Le HavreBanyana Banyana held their own against Spain for a good portion of the contest but made errors at critical moments.

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Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis says she is proud of the start her team made to their maiden Fifa Women’s World Cup despite the side going down 3-1 to Spain in Le Havre.

South Africa led 1-0 at half-time after stunning Spain on the counter to give Thembi Kgatlana the space to curl one beyond the keeper just before the half-four mark.

Banyana had to try to hold on as Spain threw everything at them and for much of the second half it looked like they may hold on but a brace of penalties and the sending off Nothando Vilikazi crushed their hopes of an incredible upset.

Vilikazi might feel a little aggrieved having cleared the ball only to follow through on an opponent and have it deemed deliberate, that came a few moments after Banyana skipper Janine van Wyk handled in the area to allow Jennifer Hermoso to level from the spot. Hermoso buried the second penalty to give Spain the lead before a late Lucia Garcia strike made the game safe.

“Very proud of the team, they put up a great performance, we said that they will fight to the bitter end and never give up,” Ellis told SAFA.

“A very good performance and I think all the people back home can be proud of this team.”

“We also have to absorb the moment, it is our first time at the World Cup, it was a special moment, it was history.

“The first game is out of the way and a lot of the nerves and anxiousness is out of the way, as I said, this team is very focused, they will look at the footage and look at what we can do better.”

Banyana will have to pick themselves up as they travel to Paris to face China at the Parc des Princes on Thursday.

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