News Live Scores
South Africa

I've selected the best available players for Japan friendly - Banyana Banyana coach Ellis

11:34 GMT+3 02/11/2019
Desiree Ellis South Africa Banyana Banyana coach
The South African coach is upbeat her side can bounce back from their Olympic qualifying elimination against the Japanese next week

South Africa women's head coach Desiree Ellis insists she picked the best available players for the country's international friendly against Japan in Fukuoka on November 10.

Ellis announced her 22-woman squad at a press conference on Thursday, recalling China-based duo of Thembi Kgatlana and Linda Motlhalo, leaving out injured captain Janine van Wyk and Ode Fulutudilu.

Banyana Banyana will regroup on November 4 in Johannesburg for the first time since an Olympic Qualifying exit in September as they confront the 2020 Women's Olympic Games hosts in a friendly.

And the 56-year-old, who led South Africa to a maiden Women's World Cup appearance and back-to-back Cosafa Women's Cup wins, is not getting weighed down by her side's Olympic miss.

"As this is a one-off game, you can't also make too many changes or bring in too many new players," Ellis told Goal.

"I believe we have selected the best available players because some of those we wanted are busy with Matric and University exams. Janine [van Wyk] is still recovering from her knee injury.
"We have been inactive for almost two months but our National and Sasol Women's League have been in progress. Our biggest challenge has been goal scoring and that is one of the areas we really need to improve on.

"The loss to Botswana was definitely a big setback but now is the time to show character as this is already part of the preparation for Awcon 2020.

"I hope to see the players always motivated for the big games. Well, they [Japan] are preparing for Tokyo 2020 and came off a fantastic result against Canada who are no pushovers.

"Once again, there is a great opportunity to test ourselves and the end of the year on a good note.

"Look they are small in stature like us and are a bit further in their development so another game to raise our levels both in defence and attack.

"They scored very early against Canada so we want to make sure that we start concentrated at all times and try to create scoring chances but have to be clinical."

Banyana will aim to avoid ending the year on a low as they face Asako Takakura's side for the first time since they were held to a 0-0 draw at the 2012 Women's Olympic tournament in London.