One More Before The Big One…
It’s almost time for South Africa’s female superstars to embark on their biggest game to date, and Desiree Ellis says that she can see on the players’ faces how much it means to them.
Banyana Banyana face Spain next weekend in their first ever game at a World Cup finals, and the game in Le Havre in France will see the culmination of months and months of hard work from Ellis, her technical team and their players.
Before that, however, comes one more final warm-up game today against Norway, with Ellis hoping that her side can gain a lot from playing the Scandinavians at Stade Moulonguet in Amiens this evening.
The Norwegians are currently ranked 12th in the world and will also be hoping for one final result before they too get underway in France, and Ellis is under no illusions about how tough this final preparation game could be.
Speaking to SAFA from Rouen, the head coach said, "Norway is a very physical side, and that’s we have not played one of those in a long time… We want to work on rotating the ball quicker, that’s key for us, not giving the ball away and minimising our mistakes. I think we saw already in the USA game.
"We must work a lot more on our strength, and that is keeping the ball, but having more progression in that. We need a little bit more patience. We’re playing a physical side, so if you hold onto the ball you’ll get clattered into and tackled… We’re working on transitions, we have scored many goals on transition and we want to work on that and get it right."
Meanwhile, with under two weeks now before it’s go-time in Le Havre, Ellis admits that it feels like time is moving fast, saying, "Time is going really, really quickly and when I look at the group, they are all very excited and very enthusiastic… When you look at the players' faces, they realise finally that the moment has arrived. We have a couple of days still, but they realise that their dreams are finally coming true and all the hard work they have put in has finally come to this."
Banyana face Spain at Stade Océane next weekend.