Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis says she will not make unnecessary changes to the team that lost 3-1 to Spain in the opening game when they face China in their second World Cup match.
This is a must win game for both Banyana and China after losing their Group B opening games to Spain and Germany respectively. Germany is on 6 points with Spain on 3 points after playing two games.
Coach Ellis believes making too many changes might unsettle the team going into such a massive must win match, especially changes in the back four.
“Normally, there is got to be some synergy in your back four and your goalkeeper, you make too many changes and you are causing problems for yourself unless changes are enforced by injuries or whatever. Nothando Vilakazi(red carded against Spain) is obviously unavailable, Lebogang Ramalepe has been one of our consistent players, Noko Matlou has been absolutely magnificent and then you have Janine Van Wyk as well, so you try to have a settled back four because it helps with the understandings with the goalkeeper.
“And also because it is such a key game for us, practically a final for us, a must win so you do not want to willy-nilly go and make changes. Look at other areas where you can use players that has not played that would make an impact because this is a must win game but in your back four generally, you do not want to make changes for the sake of giving someone an opportunity to play. You would like to play everyone but this is the World Cup and when you still have a big chance of going to the next round, you do not just want to make changes for the sake of making them.” Ellis said.
Coach Ellis hinted that the only change might come at left back because she is forced to make a change due to a red card given to left back Nothando Vilakazi in the game against Spain.
“We brought a squad of players that can play in a number of positions, Leandra (Smeda) has played there before, Sibulele (Holweni) play there in training, so I think we are covered but a player of that magnitude, of that experience is a big loss. Someone needs to step up and grab the opportunity to do exactly what Nothando has always done or even better. That’s going to be key for us, that’s why we bring players that are versatile, players who can play in many positions, and not just play but do an equally good job. Leandra has play there on many occasions and done a pretty good job.” Ellis said.
Banyana will play China at the Paris’ Parc de Princes stadium on Thursday night. Kick-off is at 21:00.
Written by: Diski Voice