Ellis proud of Banyana’s performance against Sweden

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Hildah Magaia. PHOTO: FIFA

It was agonisingly close for Banyana Banyana on Sunday in their opening game of the FIFA Women’s World Cup against Sweden in Wellington.

South Africa were mere minutes away from their first-ever points at the World Cup finals, however, a goal in the last few seconds before stoppage time saw the Swedes steal a 2-1 win.

Banyana opened the scoring with a 48th minute Hildah Magaia goal, but the world number threes struck back with goals by Frifolina Rolfo and Amanda Ilestedt for the three points.

The coach of Banyana, said despite the last minute defeat to the Swedes there was a lot of be proud of as they shift their focus to Argentina.

“We had a game plan and I thought it worked throughout, we were defensively very sound,” said the former national captain.

“We knew that they were going to be a challenge at setpieces and I thought we handled that very well. Our transitions could have been a better. Our decisions in the final third, if that was better, we would be speaking a different result now.

“We have been working on all those things and as the game went on, we tried to effect changes to make sure that we stand fast.

“Unfortunately, we conceded at a moment when we were in complete control and that put us back a bit and to concede right at the end is a bit cruel, but that is football.

“Even though we lost, we are very proud of the way we played. We might have not had the type of preparation we wanted, but the group of players showed resilience.

“They have shown bravery and courage, and through that we could have gotten a better result.”

Banyana will face Argentina on Friday morning in Dunedin, with this game athe Forsyth Barr Stadium kicking off at 2:00.

On Monday in the second Group G fixture, Italy will face Argentina with this game at Eden Park in Auckland kicking off at 8:00.

Morgan Piek