28 November 2018 – Head coach of the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana, Desiree Ellis has entered the history books by being the first coach to lead the South African Senior Women’s National Team to a FIFA World Cup.
Ellis, who is a former player and captain of Banyana Banyana, and also ex-assistant coach, says it all boils down to teamwork and good preparation.
South Africa brushed aside Mali 2-0 in the semi-final of the 2018 Women’s AFCON to secure their spot at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France in June.
Ellis also holds the record of winning the COSAFA Women’s Championship as both player and coach.
In helping Banyana Banyana qualify for France, Ellis joined the elite group of South African-born coaches who achieved the same feat before her – Solly Luvhengo (U-17 Women – 2010 Trinidad and Tobago), Molefi Ntseki (U-17 Men – 2015 Chile), Clive Barker (Bafana Bafana -France 98), Thabo Senong (U-20 Men – 2017 Korea Republic), Simphiwe Dludlu (U-17 Women – 2018 Uruguay).
Banyana Banyana also qualify for the World Cup 20 years after Bafana Bafana played their maiden tournament in France in 1998. Already qualified for the World Cup are hosts France, China, Thailand, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Chile, Spain, Italy, England, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Canada, USA, Jamaica, Netherlands, Argentina, and Nigeria.
Here is what Ellis had to say: