3 November 2017 – Banyana Banyana interim head coach Desiree Ellis will be honoured at the 2017 South Africa Sports Awards after she was selected to be one of the recipients of the Excellence Award.

The event will take place on Sunday, 12 November 2017 at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg.

It is expected that the award will be handed over by the Minister of Sport and Recreation South Africa, Mr Thulas Nxesi.

“For the first time in my life I am truly at a loss for words – I really did not expect this. To say I am very humbled is an understatement – I feel blessed and privileged to be in this position, I am really over the moon by this award. Let me take this opportunity to thank the Minister and his team for bestowing me with such a prestigious honour,” said Ellis.

The Minister’s Award comes at the back of Ellis winning the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship held in Zimbabwe in September this year, as a coach. She also won the tournament as a player back in 2002 – thus rewriting the history books by being the first person to win as both player and coach.

Banyana Banyana defeated the hosts 2-1 in the final to claim victory in the 5th edition of the tournament. They have now it four times – 2002, 2006, 2008 and 2017. They came second in 2011 after losing to Zimbabwe.

“In life when you set out your goals you never know whether you will succeed or not, you work hard to reach your those, and I am just glad that things worked out very well for me. This award is a great reward for all the years of sacrifice and commitment, for all those time when I felt like giving up but I kept on going because I was looking at the bigger picture,” added Ellis.

“But this is not about me – and I would like to dedicate this award to my family, who at times see very little of me; to the Banyana Banyana players – those I played with and those I am coaching now; to all the support staff who work tirelessly behind the scenes and make things look easy with their dedication; and last but not least, to SAFA and Sasol, who have given me this platform to express my talent and impart my knowledge to make this a successful national team. Thank you and thank you.”

The SA Sports Awards have been created to recognise and honour individuals and teams who have excelled both on and off the field between the 1st of September 2016 and the 30th of August 2017.