Botswana women’s senior national team coach, Gaolethoo Nkutlwisang said the 2-0 friendly loss to South Africa’s Banyana Banyana on Tuesday afternoon at the Wits Stadium in Johannesburg played an important role in their preparations for the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifiers that start in June 2021.
Nkutlwisang also praised her players for putting up a gallant fight against Banyana Banyana, adding that this shows a progressive road to full fitness.
The team played its first competitive game after a four-month hiatus of no football action but strenuously applied themselves against a bloodthirsty and dynamic, Banyana Banyana
“In the first half we were alert of all the situations, we built from the back, shared good possession – this is good for confidence. We added new players to acclimatise to competition. In the second half, we had a concentration lapse and we got punished because when you give room to players like Thembi Kgatlana, they will punish you. She is a brilliant player. As the match progressed, I could see that my players were getting tired, our fitness level is not yet at par. We must give credit to Banyana Banyana for giving us such a competitive match, and we go home with assignment to rectify all our mistakes before we start the African qualifiers,” said Nkutlwisang on the touchline.
Meanwhile, Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis said the friendly match came at the right time as it gave her players all the much-needed opportunities to test themselves. Furthermore, Eliis said she was happy to have her foreign-based players who have been out of action for a year at national team level.
“The foreign players really lifted the team; their experience was second to none. The dominating teams in Africa have more players in the European leagues. They were professional and executed themselves well. Although the league is about to start, it’s going to be tough to get to fitness, but we will cross the bridge when we get there,” said Ellis.
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