21 January 2018

South Africa: Ellis Expects Third Time Lucky for Banyana Banyana Against Sweden

Photo: Banyana Banyana/Twitter
Banyana Banyana celebrates their victory of the 2017 Cosafa Women's Championship (file photo).

Interim coach of the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana, Desiree Ellis, is hoping it will be third time lucky for the South Africans when they face Sweden in an international friendly match on Sunday, 21 January 2018 at the Cape Town Stadium.

Kickoff is at 14h00.

This will be third meeting between the two nations and Banyana Banyana have suffered same number of defeats from their European counterparts.

The first time they met was at the London Olympics in 2012 and the more recent encounter was in Brazil at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

"Of course we expect to come out tops this time after losing twice to them, but we know it won't be easy because they are also preparing for World Cup qualification so they will not take this match lightly," said Ellis.

"They are very physical, played a good passing game, technically astute - but we need to play our brand of football where put the ball on the ground and share it. We need to use our pace upfront and our strongest point is the defence where we are not easily broken down. We have to be on top of our game because playing against big guns like Sweden they punish you when you make the tiniest of mistakes."

The South Africans have been in Cape Town since Sunday, 14 January to prepare for this clash, and Ellis is happy with what transpired.

"The week started very good, I liked the enthusiasm of the players, the commitment and the passion. We have done our work, what remains is for the players to deliver on the field. We played a practice match against Sweden and there were plenty of positives and that's what you want. There's a lot of potential in this team," said Ellis.

"As for the new players they have acquainted themselves very well but then again you cannot also expect them to grasp everything in just one week. They have come here and showed why we selected. Senior players have been saying their places are not guaranteed and that immediately removes the element of complacency - meaning everyone fights for a place, and nothing makes us more happy."

The former Banyana Banyana captain believes this is a good start the year - and will hopefully be similar to 2017 where they played France and went on to win the COSAFA Cup - this time around she hopes it will lead to qualification for the World Cup.

"This match means a great deal to us, more so because we last played in October. It is a good start to a very crucial year for Banyana Banyana. It is always important to test yourself at a level you are not used to, especially the newer players. This match is about tomorrow but the bigger picture is the year ahead as we work on qualifying for the World Cup. Hopefully the fans will come in numbers as we celebrate our first ever match in the Mother City.

South Africa stats:

Coach:

Desiree Ellis

Captain:

Janine Van Wyk

Refiloe Jane (Vice)

Top six capped players:

Janine van Wyk (144)

Noko Matlou (138)

Nompumelelo Nyandeni (134)

Portia Modise (124) *retired

Amanda Dlamini (105) *retired

Nothando Vilakazi (104)

Record for Most goals scored:

Portia Modise (101)

FIFA ranking: 54

Banyana Banyana will participate at the prestigious Cyprus Cup at the end of February. They have been drawn in Group C alongside Slovakia, Hungary and Trinidad and Tobago.

South Africa has participated in 2 Olympic Games, 5 Africa Women's Cup of Nations (AWCON) and 5 COSAFA Women's Championships

Highest place finish in AWCON - 2nd Place

Won the COSAFA Cup in 2002, 2006, 2008 and 2017

Sweden Women's National Football Team:

Won the European Competition for Women's Football in 1984

World Cup-silver (2003)

Three European Championship-silvers (1987, 1995, 2001)

The team has participated in six Olympic Games, seven World Cups, as well as nine European Championships.

Sweden won the bronze medal at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.

The 2003 World Cup-final was the second most watched event in Sweden that year.

Lotta Schelin is the top goal scorer in the history of Sweden with 85 goals

The player with the most caps is Therese Sjögran, with 214.

They are coached by: Peter Gerhardsson

Captain is Caroline Sever

FIFA Ranking: 10

Titles:

UEFA Women's Euro

Champion: 1984

Olympic Games

Silver Medal, 2016

Algarve Cup

Champion: 1995, 2001, 2009

Nordic Championship

Champion: 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981

Cyprus Tournament

Champion: 1990, 1992

North America Cup

Champion: 1987

Australia Cup

Champion: 2003

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