Desiree Ellis: No unhappy player at Banyana

Desiree Ellis
Desiree Ellis

Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has dismissed claims that she has lost the dressing room.

In the wake of Banyana's group-stage elimination at their maiden World Cup in France last month, it emerged that a number of senior players no longer saw eye to eye with Ellis.

The fact that the likes of Jermaine Seoposenwe, Linda Motlhalo and Leandra Smeda among others - who had played a pivotal role when Banyana finished as runners-up at the Africa Women's Cup of Nations in Ghana late last year - were reduced to fringe players in France further aggravated these allegations.

"I don't think there's an unhappy player at Banyana. When you have the group of players the dynamics are always like that. There's never anything wrong," Ellis said. 

In France, Ellis mostly preferred less-experienced troops such Kholosa Biyana and Amanda Mthandi in the positions usually played by Smeda and Seoposenwe.

Ellis explained why Smeda, who plies her trade in Sweden with Vittsjo GIK, did not feature as much at the World Cup: "At the World Cup in France, Leandra had come back from an injury and just before the Norway game [which was their last friendly before the World Cup] she had injured herself again and when she came on against Spain she had picked up another injury." 

She also shared the criteria she used when selecting her XI, highlighting that no player was automatically promised a place at the national team.

"We also have to manage if players do not perform on the day, you have to manage that as well and hopefully try somebody else who can play in that position," Ellis said.

"No one's place is guaranteed [a place] at the national team. We have training sessions and you look at training sessions . through that you select the team to play. You also look at the opposition, through that you also select the squad."