26 November 2022 – Banyana Banyana continued a memorable year after Unisa Chancellor Thabo Mbeki recognised the African champions’ numerous achievements this year with an accolade at the Chancellor’s Calabash Awards in Houghton, Johannesburg, on Friday, 25 November 2022.
Coach Desiree Ellis’ charges were presented with the Public Servant Award, which is awarded to South Africans who have made significant contribution in the service of humanity. South African Football Association (SAFA) COO Lydia Monyepao and Ellis were in attendance to receive the award on behalf of the the SASOL-sponsored South African senior women’s national team.
Banyana Banyana have won numerous awards this year since beating hosts Morocco 2-1 in Rabat in July to become the third nation – after nine-time champions Nigeria and two-time winners Equatorial Guinea – to win the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
They will be going to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia/New Zealand next year with coach Ellis recognised by the Confederation of African Football as the best women’s coach on the continent for the third year running.
Coach Desiree was named Women’s Coach of the Year at the 2022 CAF Awards also in July.
At the same awards ceremony, Andile Dlamini won the Goalkeeper of the Year Award while Banyana Banyana were named the National Team of the Year. Coach Ellis’ charges were also named as the Fair Play Team to put the cherry on the icing.
“We are just very, very grateful and very blessed that we could bring home the trophy,” said Ellis.
“We are very blessed that we could bring some pride back to the nation, and also give some pride to the people.”
SAFA COO Monyepao said all these achievements are the culmination of years of hard work.
“None of this was achieved overnight and it has taken a lot of hard work, sacrifice, pain and incredible support from SAFA, our partners and many others over a number of years for these achievements to be realised,” said the SAFA COO.
“Success did not come overnight, we worked very hard for over a number of years. This is why we are so happy that many young girls from all walks of life have been inspired by this team and they also want to follow in their footsteps and make a difference.
“Watching South Africans celebrate this success in the last few months has been inspiring even to us and we feel we can even do better, aim even higher and reach for the stars.
We thank Unisa for coming on board and availing bursaries for the Banyana Banyana players and officials for the next four years.
“Various universities and other institutions have come to the fore and made sure that there is a lasting legacy for our players long after they have kicked the ball on the soccer field for the last time. Education is the cornerstone of society and these crucial partnerships will ensure that our players are fully equipped to tackle the world long after their playing days are over.”