5 August 2022 – Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has thanked her predecessor Vera Pauw for the role she played in the team’s rise to the top of women’s football on the continent.

The SASOL-sponsored South African senior women’s national team won the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations  (WAFCON) title after beating hosts Morocco 2-1 in the final last month and Pauw, who coached Banyana Banyana between 2014–2016, was one of the first figures to congratulate the team. 

Ellis said she appreciated the gesture and revealed that she still speaks to the Dutch coach on a regular basis as they continue to exchange ideas.

“We cannot forget what other coaches that came before us, especially Vera Pauw, put into the team,” the Banyana Banyana coach told www.www.safa.net.

“You know, I still speak to her and her contribution to the national team is immense. It is through her guidance and her support that there is so much I learnt from her. So I would like to say thank you for all her support. The guidance and the mentorship still continues. It has been a really amazing journey, taking over from someone so special like her.

“I have learnt from her. So coach Vera, thank you very much for your guidance, your support, your insight and your mentorship that is still continuing. I really do appreciate it and our victory is your victory because we cannot forget your contribution.”

Ellis, some members of the backroom staff and the Cape Town-based Banyana Banyana players were honoured this week when they were awarded commemorative coins marking the team’s truimph in Morocco last month. They are Assistant Coach Thinasonke Mbuli, conditioning coach Ridhaa Allie, players Sibulele Holweni, Bongeka Gamede, Regirl Ngobeni, Amogelang Motau and Noxolo Cesane all from UWC.

Thembi Kgatlana, Jermaine Seoposenwe, who plays overseas but hails from Cape Town, and Thalea Smidt, who plays for Mamelodi Sundowns, were also awarded the commemorative coins.

“Oh my goodness, in true Cape Town style, with the minstrels and the amazing crowd that was gathered, I would like to thank SAFA Cape Town and the city, especially Mr Bennett Bailey of SAFA Cape Town. I mean, the Cape Mint, that coin I received is not something money can buy,” the Banyana Banyana coach.

“In true Cape Town style, we were welcomed and really, really celebrated. Since I arrived in the Mother City, from the time I arrived at the airport, the welcome and the celebrations have been amazing.”