Bafana Bafana

Ellis rewrites history books as Banyana qualifies for World Cup

Banyana Banyana with Cosafa Championship trophy (SAFA)
Banyana Banyana with Cosafa Championship trophy (SAFA)

Cape Town - Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis has entered the history books by being the first coach to lead the South African Senior Women's National Team to a FIFA World Cup.

READ: Van Wyk: Qualifying for World Cup 'the most amazing feeling

Ellis, who is a former player and captain of Banyana Banyana, and also ex-assistant coach, says it all boils down to teamwork and good preparation.

South Africa brushed aside Mali 2-0 in the semi-final of the 2018 Women’s AFCON to secure their spot at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France in June.

Ellis also holds the record of winning the COSAFA Women's Championship as both player and coach.

"It's a victory for the whole of South Africa, "Ellis said. "For all the wonderful support they've given us throughout this tournament and believing in us.

"It's also for the past coaches who played a part in this team, all the players who played their part and also the Sasol League coaches and our sponsors who have been supporting us.

"Everyone was magnificent, the players, staff, technical team and the people who don't usually get a mention as each and everyone played a part.

Ellis preferred to highlight the team as she described her feelings at becoming the first coach to lead Banyana Banyana to a World Cup.

"It's never about me, it's always about the players and the team, the awards and individual accolades come as a bonus. You're in the job to make a difference and more than anything it's about the people who have ploughed into my life."

In helping Banyana Banyana qualify for France, Ellis joined the elite group of South African-born coaches who achieved the same feat before her – Solly Luvhengo (U-17 Women – 2010 Trinidad and Tobago), Molefi Ntseki (U-17 Men – 2015 Chile), Clive Barker (Bafana Bafana -France 98), Thabo Senong (U-20 Men – 2017 Korea Republic), Simphiwe Dludlu (U-17 Women – 2018 Uruguay).

Banyana Banyana also qualify for the World Cup 20 years after Bafana Bafana played their maiden tournament in France in 1998.

Already qualified for the World Cup are hosts France, China, Thailand, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Chile, Spain, Italy, England, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Canada, USA, Jamaica, Netherlands, Argentina, and Nigeria.

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