13 December 2023 – South African football was well represented at the CAF Awards 2023 in the Moroccan city of Marrakech on Monday night, 11 December 2023, after Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis, Percy Tau and Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies walked away with accolades.
Ellis secured the Best Coach award in the women’s category to win a record fourth CAF award. Bafana Bafana star Tau won the CAF InterClub Player of the Year.
Sundowns won the Club of the Year (Women). It did not end there as South Africa dominated the continent’s Best XI players in the Women Category with Andile Dlamini, Bambani Mbane, Lebohang Ramalepe, Linda Motlhalo and Refiloe Jane in the team. SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan was also present in Marrakech and led a delegation that gave support to all the players.
“It is an incredible achievement, but like I always say, I don’t work alone, I work in team sport. I will quote Coach T (Thinasonke Mbuli) again by saying we do put a lot of effort in and a lot of work in, but the players make us look good,” she told www.safa.net.
“So a big thank you to the Banyana Banyana players for all the effort that they’ve put in. We speak about teamwork and we always say the team does well, the individual stands out. I’m fortunate that I’m that individual. So a big thank you to the players and of course a big thank you to the staff who work behind the scenes, who put in an incredible job for the team to be where they are and for us to be rewarded and awarded.
“So first of all, this goes to the Banyana Banyana players and the staff. It also goes to the coaches out there who work in the leagues, the Hollywoodbets Super League and the Sasol League, and who work in women’s football.
“It goes to all of them, the coaches that have come before us. I got a message from Coach Joseph, a message from Coach Vera, and it’s appreciated because everybody laid a foundation so that we can take it further.
“It goes to all the coaches who coach women’s football on the continent itself because of the incredible job they’re doing. You see teams are starting to really raise the levels. You can’t underestimate anyone anymore, so you’ve got to make sure that you’re on top of your game and you’re at your absolute best when you play against these other countries.
“This award goes to everyone who works in women’s football because it’s a challenging job working in this space. A big thank you to all the coaches that have supported me, and to all the administrators that have supported me.
“A big thank you to SAFA, and a big thank you to Sasol for their unwavering support. It means a lot and we really appreciate it. I’d just like to say to everybody involved in women’s football, let’s continue to raise the level, let’s continue to make sure that women’s football is spoken about long after all of us have gone.
“You look at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, for the first time ever, three countries, including ourselves, got to the Round of 16 in Australia and New Zealand. Let’s push further to make sure next time around one of us reaches the semi-finals at least or even win it because it is possible. The last World Cup has shown that.
“But also a big thank you to my family. I don’t live at home and they’ve been very, very supportive. And to all the other coaches that have always been there for me, I thank you.
“And lastly we cannot say enough thank you to SAFA and Sasol. The custodians of football, Dr. Danny Jordaan, the CEO, Lydia Monyepao, always have been there to support and I appreciate that very much, and I’m really pleased, really humbled and to everyone, stay blessed.”