Ellis’ future at Banyana still up in the air

Desiree Ellis (Gallo)
Desiree Ellis (Gallo)

Johannesburg - The SA Football Association (Safa) is expected to announce the new Banyana Banyana coach early in the new year.

However, City Press has established that winning the Cosafa Women’s Championship and Banyana being nominated for the CAF Women’s National Team of the Year under her leadership might not be enough to land caretaker coach Desiree Ellis the women’s football job on a permanent basis.

The 54-year-old former national team captain has been acting in the position for more than a year – Vera Pauw left after last year’s abortive Rio Olympic Games.

Ellis is expected to oversee Banyana’s two friendly matches against Sweden in Cape Town next month.

Safa president Danny Jordaan promised he would push the technical committee to make its decision soon.

Jordaan said the committee had to decide whether to continue with Ellis or get someone else to take over.

“We have to move quickly early in the new year because next year is going to be tough for the team. We have to qualify for the CAF Africa Women’s Championships in Ghana, and there we must finish in the top three to qualify for the World Cup in France,” said Jordaan.

“We cannot allow her [Desiree] to act for such a long time. I had a long chat with her last weekend and she knows where I stand. I will talk to the chairperson of the technical committee to find out how far along the process is because we have to move quickly now.”

Jordaan said that, whatever happened, Ellis would still be part of the team in future.

“We need to empower our women and give them all the support they need.

“Most of them went straight from playing to coaching without going through the coaching ranks. It is our responsibility to make sure they get the necessary support,” he said.

However, City Press has learnt that Ellis’ lack of international experience could be the reason she will not get the job.

It is believed Safa has set its sights on an Italian and another foreign coach from either Sweden or Norway. But Ellis will not be lost as she will work with whoever is appointed.

A Safa insider said they were scared of throwing Ellis into the deep end to swim with the sharks as she might not recover from that if she failed.

“Look, she has never beaten any of the top countries on the continent such as Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria, and for Banyana to qualify for the World Cup, they must beat one of these three sides to finish in the top three. What would happen to her if she failed to do so, would she still have a job or not?” asked the source.

Last month, Ellis received the Sports Minister’s Excellence Award and her Banyana team is up for a continental honour next month.

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