Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis says her charge got off to a slow start against Algeria in the first leg of the final qualifying round for the Café Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
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The team missed many opportunities to eventually win 2-0 on Friday at Orlando Stadium.
Playing against the Algerians, a team they last played in 2014, the Banyana coach expected the North African to approach the draw by defending to concede away from home. But that wasn’t the case as the Fennecs were looking for an away goal which they got almost in the early stages of the game.
Hilda Magaia scored for Banyana in the 40th minute, while Thembi Kgatlana made it 2-0 in the 89th minute.
“We analyzed them, but we felt like they would sit back so they wouldn’t budge from home,” Ellis said after the game.
“We worked a lot playing against a low block in training, but we knocked out straight away and they could have been up 1-0. I think we were in control for most of the game, we created a lot of chances but sometimes I felt like we were playing at a dead pace and we were trying to tell them (players) to speed up the game, spin the ball faster. They (Algeria) started to put a lot of players in the middle.
“We started to go wide, which we did and because of that we created a lot of scoring opportunities, but the (goals) didn’t come.”
Ellis added that the substitutions made the difference for Banyana, but warned that the draw is not over with Wednesday’s return leg in Algiers.
“We needed more energy in midfield so we brought in Thalea Smidt who gave us a lot more energy, Nomvula Kgoale also gave us energy and Gabriela Salgado wide and that changed it (the game) a bit. But the draw is still there not pass, we have to make sure we don’t give in, they’ll have to come at us.”