The South African Football Association (SAFA) announced on Thursday that Desiree Ellis will serve as the new Banyana Banyana coach, after serving 18 months as a caretaker. Under Ellis, Banyana won the 2017 Cosafa Cup in September‚ and the team was awarded Caf's "Women's Team of the Year of 2017" in January.
The announcement was made by SAFA president Danny Jordaan, who said, "She fully deserves the appointment, as she has come through all the ranks of our national teams."
'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.'– Desiree Ellis
SAFA has already set three goals for Ellis to achieve: qualify for AFCON 2018 in Ghana, and make it to both the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics.
"I will be failing in my duties if I did not thank 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," Ellis said.
Congratulation to Desiree Ellis for being appointed the new Banyana coach. She is an incredible person. Now we must continue to fight for payment for female players and management. These are exception South Africa. Woman. pic.twitter.com/PiYbcoB02h— Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) February 22, 2018
"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."
Here are some of Ellis's notable achievements:
- In total, of her 15 games as caretaker coach, she has won eight encounters, drawn two and lost five. Her side has scored 27 goals and conceded 15 in 12 away and three home matches.
Ellis is the only person to win the COSAFA Cup as both player and coach.
She was the captain of Banyana at one stage of her career.
Ellis' first assignment as head coach will be the Cyprus Women's Cup. The team will depart for Cyprus on Friday, and will play their first match against Slovakia next Wednesday.