5 December 2017 – Interim head coach of the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana, Desiree Ellis, is singing the praises of coaches and players at the 2017 Sasol League National Championship, which are taking place Kabokweni Stadium in Mbombela, Mpumalanga.

The nine team tournament kicked off on Monday, 04 December 2017 and will run until Saturday, 9 December when the national champion is crowned.

There were three games on Day 1, but already Elis is impressed.

“The first encounter between Mamelodi Sundowns was of top quality football. The clash between RC Mills and Coal City Wizards a bit of a yawn but the third match brought the tournament back to life with a top drawer performance by newcomers Sunflower. Many players have raised their hands and as selectors we will have a difficult time in selectign players – but then again that’s what its about, players coming here and raising their hands,” said an elated Ellis.

She adds that the first day in 2016 dished out some great performance.

“If I look back at the tournament last year, and I compare it to the first day this year, already we are seeing much more quality, especially with U17, U20 and Banyana Banyana players present here – they have definitely raised the standards. With all three women’s national teams active, it shows in the games. I believe going forward is even going to be better. It will be quite interesting to see the match up between former champions Cape Town Roses and newcomers Sunflower FC, who showed their class on Day 1,” added Ellis.

“Only three teams are back from last year, and this shows that the quality of the Sasol League has been raised. It also shows that there are not just quality players, but also quality coaching – if you look at the way the players are performing, there is a structure and plan in place, so quality coaching and quality planning has definitely raised the standard of the games.”

Ellis is one of the three instructors that are present at the Sasol League National Championship. Their intention is to be on the lookout for players for the various national teams.

“I am very happy with Day 1. We will be monitoring most of them throughout the week as you are well aware that Banyana Banyana will be playing against Sweden early in the new year, U20 will be also be facing Nigeria when 2018 starts and the U17 will be in action next week – both World Cup qualifiers, and players that raise their hands will be given an opportunity,” said Ellis.