9 January 2019 – Without any attempt to trivialise the awards to other deserving winners, these CAF awards are a technical motion of confidence in the initiatives of the South African Football Association (SAFA).

Thembi Kgatlana cannot be described as gifted in height. The package that she is consists, among other attributes, of the following: explosiveness, game intelligence, technical soundness and boldness.

She finished moves from teammates in a collective fashion and won big prizes for herself. The team won too as she was only completing a collective effort. The assists she provided presented her as an admirably maturing team player as she successfully resisted the temptation to opt to score from unfavourable angles. Credit to her willingness to learn the finer points of the game from her colleagues and coaches.

By voting Desiree Ellis as the coach of the year, CAF had actually passed a technical motion of confidence in the initiatives of SAFA. This vote is also a vote of confidence in our originality of style as a country. A style that dovetails our great natural balance, coordination, agility and speed with subsequent technical skills.

A style with an inbuilt competitive edge. A style with freshness. A freshness delivered with abundance of conviction. We are who we are.

It is as a result of Banyana Banyana’s adoption of this style that they continually and successfully imposed their game plan and saw them compete as an equal partner against the likes of Nigeria and even dominated games with emphatic authority.

It is the conviction in the style that allowed Banyana Banyana to take the initiatives during matches, control or dominate matches during the AFCON. We were simply different.

Banyana Banyana played with freedom, resourcefulness, purpose and commanding belief.

While Banyana Banyana will definitely continue to be work in progress, waiting to be tested by the finest in the world, we believe that the template in terms of style and accompanying modern tactical approaches is in place. What it requires is a focused and spirited refinement and consolidation on the road to perfecting it. We dare not abandon it even in the not unexpected humiliating defeats of the future. Instead we should strive to refine, consolidate and sharpen it for it has the potential to coax the best performances in us against anyone in the world.

Like all winners of major competitions, Banyana Banyana played their game, their way in the AFCON.

We can only modernise more in order to optimize our potential in the expected bruising battles ahead while nullifying the advantages other nations have in qualities such as physical aggression, height, etc.

SAFA Coaching Education