18 September 2017 – Interim head coach of the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana, Desiree Ellis, is disappointed with the performance of her charges against Botswana.

The two nations met in the final Group C match in the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe on Sunday, 17 September and played to a 1-1 draw.

After making eight changes to the starting line-up, the South Africans could not string their passes together and were constantly on the backfoot against Botswana – a side that has never given them problems before.

“I am disappointed because I thought the players we had on the pitch were good enough to get three points, with all due respect to Botswana, but our side never got going, especially in the first half. The idea of the changes was to keep the players fresh for the games, and also considering that we had six points already. It all went into pieces, and I don’t know whether it was lack of concentration, or communication breakdown – things just didn’t work,” said Ellis.

“But it was a quick turnaround after the changes we made in the second half, and we saw a good show of character. We needed to rest the players taking into account the heat that we are playing under. At the end of the day we got the result we wanted but not the kind of performance we were hoping for.”have no idea what d their goal was poor indeed from our side. We always preach safety first in every situation, but i just come

Botswana was the first on the score sheet after a lack of decision-making by defender Nothando Vilakazi, who had just come on, and goalkeeper Yolula Tsawe.

“The way they scored their goal was poor indeed from our side. We always preach safety first in every situation, but I have no idea what happened there for us to hand them that soft goal. We will have a look at the video again and check what transpired and try to rectify the situation,” added Ellis.

“But the last ten minutes was almost as if we had a completely new team on the field. We started to play as well as we can. But that is something we need to be consistent with, and not just play in patches.”

Second half substitute Chantelle Esau scored the vital goal for South Africa in the 87th minute to restore parity.

“I am pleased with her performance, coming back from where she was – going to the Olympic Games as an alternate player, getting injured and not being able to play a while. She has won a lot of games for her club Mamelodi Sundowns and hopefully she can continue with her scoring form – because the more you score as a player the more confident you get with your play – I hope it can all come together in the semi-final,” said the former Banyana Banyana captain.

South Africa will now take on Zambia in the semi-final on Thursday, 21 September.

“In the semi-final there is no second chance so it is important that we go out there and play much better than we did against Botswana. We need to up our game big time and players need to raise their standards for us to get a victory. The players are also disappointed with the kind of performance they dished out because they know what they are capable of. We know that no one goes on purpose to have a bad game, hopefully we will put that behind us and focus on the semi-final,” said Ellis.

“Make no mistake, it is going to be a tough semi-final because Zambia is playing very well. So far we haven’t played as well as we know we can, we have a couple of days to prepare well for them. We have to give our all because anything less will not get us the desired result.”

So far only Banyana Banyana and Zambia have qualified for the semi-final after finishing top of their Group C and A respectively, each collecting seven point in three matches.

South Africa won their first two matches – beating Lesotho (3-0) and Namibia (3-1).

They conceded two goals and scored seven.

Group B is not yet decided as they will play their final matches this afternoon (Monday, 18 September).

The log as it stands:

GROUP A                   

                                    P          W        D         L          GF       GA       GD       PTS

Zambia (Q)                 3          2          1          0          14        5          +9        7

Zimbabwe                   3          1          2          0          8          4          +4        5

Malawi                        3          1          1          1          12        12        0          4

Madagascar              3          0          0          3          4          17        13        0


GROUP B                   

                                   P          W        D         L          GF       GA       GD       PTS

Kenya                         2          2          0          0          16        2          +14      6

Swaziland                   2          1          1          0          5          2          +3        4

Mozambique               2          0          1          1          4          7          -3         1

Mauritius                      2          0          0          2          0          14        -14       0

GROUP C                    

                                      P          W        D         L          GF       GA       GD       PTS

South Africa (Q)          3          2          1          0          7          2          +5        7

Botswana                      3          1          1          1          4          5          -1         4

Lesotho                         3          1          0          2          2          7          -5         3

Namibia                        3          1          0          2          6          5          +1        3