Cape Town - Desiree Ellis has been announced as the new Banyana Banyana coach after serving the role in the past 18 months on an interim basis.
The South African Football Association (SAFA) made the announcement at the SAFA headquarters on Thursday morning.
"We are glad to announce the appointment of Desiree (Ellis) as
Banyana Banyana coach," SAFA President Danny Jordaan said. "She fully deserves the appointment as she has
come through all the ranks of our national teams.
"Desiree has three tasks to achieve; qualify for AFCON 2018 in Ghana,
qualify for FIFA World Cup and the Olympics. I am confident Banyana
Banyana will be up to the task," said Jordaan.
been in charge of Banyana Banyana on an interim basis since 2016 –
after the Rio Olympic Games and takes over from former Dutch coach Vera Pauw.
At the time, the former Banyana Banyana captain was the assistant to the Dutch-born Pauw.
"It still sounds unreal I honestly can't believe it is really
happening. It has always been a dream of mine to be the head coach of
Banyana Banyana. Nothing comes bigger than this. Being in the acting
role since 2016 has probably prepared me for the most daunting task of
them all in women's football. I have always believed, and now it is a
reality," said Ellis.
"I will be failing in my duties if I did not thank the South African
Football Association (SAFA) for entrusting me with this job, even in the
acting capacity. This appointment can only mean we are doing something
right in women's football, and I hope it becomes a symbol to many girls
and women out there that if you dream it, you can live it. I will do the
best of my ability to make sure we continue on growing this beautiful
Her first assignment as head coach will be the Cyprus Women's Cup, a tournament she is very familiar with.
Banyana Banyana depart for Cyprus on Friday and will
play their first match on Wednesday February 28 against Slovakia.
The other nations in Group C are Korea DPR and Hungary.
The 54-year-old Ellis is well aware what is at stake.
"Banyana Banyana has a very hectic 2018, and this Cyprus Cup could
not have come at a better time. Because of the nature of the tournament.
"We are unable to win it but will instead use every opportunity to get
ready for the upcoming AFCON qualifiers and the tournament proper - which also doubles up as a World Cup qualifier. But we are confident we
will not disappoint as I believe we have a very solid team that will do
the business," added Ellis.
"I will also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has
supported me on this journey – all the players, the coaches, colleagues.
I also need to make a special mention about Vera Pauw, from whom I have
so learnt so much, as well as our proud sponsor Sasol, without whom we
would not be here today.
"I believe with South Africa behind Banyana
Banyana, 2018 is going to be a great year for all of us. We have a lot
of work ahead, but I am confident we will get to our destination, which
is qualifying for the World Cup in France."
Ellis has been in charge of Banyana Banyana in 15 matches, starting
with the friendly international clash against Egypt which ended with South Africa winning 3-1 at the Dobsonville Stadium.
In total, she has won eight encounters, drew two and lost five. Her
side has scored 27 goals and conceded 15 in the 12 away and three home
Ellis is the only person to win the COSAFA Cup as both player and
coach, and during her acting role, Banyana Banyana was voted the 2017
CAF African Women's Team of the Year.
South Africa finished fourth at the CAF African Women's Cup of Nations in Cameroon in 2017.