Saturday Aug 31, 2019. 11:00
South Africa coach Des Ellis admits her side face a difficult return leg against Botswana after the teams played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Olympic Games qualifier in Gaborone on Friday night.
Fancied South Africa, who were without a number of key players including captain Janine van Wyk, star forward Thembi Kgatlana and midfielder Linda Motlhalo, failed to find a cutting edge despite creating a enough opportunities to win the game.
But they also came up against a resolute Botswana, who had spent two weeks preparing for the game in Slovakia and looked a much more accomplished side than previously.
South Africa will hope to complete the job at the Orlando Stadium in the return leg on Tuesday night, will also be wary of conceding a goal at home that would leave them needing to net twice to advance.
“It was a battle out there,” Ellis said. “We knew that Botswana would come at us with the counter-attack and the pitch did not suit the way we wanted to play.
“The big factor that we will take from here is that we did not concede and that is very important in such matches.”
South Africa recently lifted the regional COSAFA Cup for the third year in a row and played at the 2019 FIFA World Cup. It would be a major shock were they not to advance, having also featured at the last two Olympic Games in 2012 and 2016.