Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis told her players that they made South Africa proud after they bowed out of the Women’s World Cup on Sunday morning.
The African champions lost 2-0 to The Netherlands in Sydney in their round-of-16 clash after Jill Roord’s ninth-minute header and a 68th-minute howler by goalkeeper Kaylin Swart.
After Lebohang Ramalepe got in Swart’s way to block a goalbound effort from a set-piece and Roord nodded the rebound home in the ninth minute, Banyana – ranked 54th in the Fifa rankings – gave the 2019 finalists a battle and goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar was named the Player of the Match after standing firm to SA’s fierce fightback.
Thembi Kgatlana was a constant threat to the Dutch and forced Van Domselaar to make two big saves in the first half and three more in the 10 minutes after the halftime break.
But Lineth Beerensteyn put the Oranje out of sight with just over 20 minutes to play when Swart fumbled a shot straight at her into her own goal.
Having fallen after reaching the last-16 for the first time, a heartbroken Ellis says: “I’m just proud. SA will be proud. Disappointed of course, but really proud of this group of players.”
Of the missed chances to get back into the game, Ellis adds: “Yesterday we spoke about needing to score more goals and we had the opportunities, especially in the first half.”
While lone striker Kgatlana will be hurting after missing her klomp chances to fire Banyana into a quarterfinal against Spain, Ellis also had sympathy for Swart’s costly error.
The Kaapse coach explains: “Nobody has a perfect game. And if you look at their goalkeeper winning Player of the Match, it shows how well we played.”