Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) champions Banyana Banyana were defeated 6-0 by South American champions Brazil on Monday evening at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in KwaZulu-Natal.
The tourists arrived in South Africa last week for two international friendlies, the first of which took place on Friday, with the visitors winning 3-0 at Orlando Stadium.
Banyana Banyana were expected to be more prepared for their opponents this time around, but those hopes were quickly dashed as Brazilian forward Adriana opened the scoring as early as the fifth minute to get the ball rolling.
Debora de Oliveira (2), Beatriz Zaneratto Joo, Duda Francelino, and Kathellen Feitoza would add five more goals.
Despite the crushing defeat, Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis is confident that her charges will only improve if they continue to play against top teams like Brazil.
“More of these matches will undoubtedly put us to the test,” Ellis said at the post-match press conference.
“We take what we’ve learned from this and try to improve our fitness, technical ability, and tactical ability because we’ve shown in certain situations that we can play against these top teams.”
Ellis believes the players have awoken and recognise where they need to improve in preparation for the Women’s World Cup, which will be hosted jointly by New Zealand and Australia in July and August of next year.
The 59-year-old reveals that she spoke candidly with her teammates about the demands of playing in a World Cup versus Wafcon.
“When I spoke to the players about Wafcon, I told them, ‘if you think that’s the intensity you’ll be facing, you’re very mistaken, it’s way up,'” she said.
“Now that a lot of players have had a taste of this, they realise that fitness levels need to improve, as do technical and tactical abilities.”
“We’ve shown that we can [improve], but we have to focus for the full 90 minutes that comes with playing more games like this.”
“If we consistently play teams that will challenge us and force us to do certain things in order to make better decisions, we will improve.”
“But it’s a package deal, and as I said, the World Cup isn’t tomorrow, but it’s a good lesson, a good learning that there’s a lot of work to be done, but we’ve shown that we can.”
“By the time we get to the World Cup, we’ll be a lot better because of games like this that help us grow and improve,” Ellis added.
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