BANYANA Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has backed the use of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in football despite her side experiencing it in their opening match of their Fifa Women’s World Cup.
Banyana were caught on the wrong end by VAR in their 3-1 loss to Spain on Saturday when full-back Nothando “Vivow” Vilakazi was adjudged to have committed a foul in the penalty area after a clearance.
Referee Maria Carvaja did not notice the foul but was alerted by VAR, she viewed it on the pitch side screen and awarded Spain a penalty and second yellow card to Vilakazi.
Vilakazi is suspended for Thursday’s match against China.
With the score 1-1 going into the final 10 minutes, it was a crucial moment for both teams and Spain made no mistake as they converted from the spot kick to make it 2-1 and got the third goal as well.
“It (VAR) is here to stay,” said Ellis yesterday.
“Tomorrow the decision could go our way similarly to what happened, and we will be okay with it. It is the rules and we have to absorb and get used to them.”
She went on: “We only need to be extra cautious that it does not happen again. You cannot argue with the rules but like I said tomorrow it could be in our favour in the next game, but it is here to stay there’s nothing we can do about it.”
Banyana now face China on Thursday in a must win match if they want to see themselves in the last 16 of the tournament which will end on 7 July.
The match will be played at Parc des Princes (9pm.)
Ellis is not concerned about the absence of Vilakazi as she believes she has enough versatility in her team that can fill the void.
She explained: “We do not have any injuries. The only person that is definitely out is obviously Vivow, but Leandra (Smeda) has played in that position in big matches for us, we also have Sibulele Holweni.”
“Yes, it is a huge loss of somebody of her experience in that back four, (Vilakazi, Noko Matlou, Janine Van Wyk and Lebohang Ramalepe) you know making changes in the backline disrupts the synergy between the defence and goalkeeper. But this one is forced.”
- Mthokozisi Mkhonza is in France as a guest of Sasol