South Africa’s Shilene Booysen “broke the Internet” on Wednesday after she was announced as head coach of the South Sudan women’s football team on a two-year contract.
Twitter was ablaze with messages of congratulation for the former Banyana Banyana player turned coach, similar to the wave of excitement that gripped continent when Pitso Mosimane was unveiled as the Al Ahly men’s coach a few months ago.
Booysen, who leaves the South African Football Association, having served with the Banyana Banyana team as a performance analyst from 2014-2020, also received good wishes from the Association.
In a statement, SAFA wrote: “When Banyana Banyana were crowned 2020 COSAFA Champions for the fourth successive time, Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis had high praises for Shilene Booysen’s ability to analyze opponents, underscoring how the two coaches worked well together.”
Banyana Banyana coach, Desiree Ellis, wished Booysen well, saying: “I am sad to see her go but its another opportunity for her to grow and develop. She has been an integral part of Banyana’s success.”
Former Banyana Banyana coach, Vera Pauw led the international tributes: “This is another fantastic appointment in women’s football! Congratulations and good luck Shilene Booysen. But even so congratulations to South Sudan Football Association to have signed the very best!”
Booysen, who previously worked in the National women’s Soccer League in America where she served as assistant coach at Houston Dash, responded to Pauw, by thanking her for being an inspiration.
“Thank you, Vera Pauw! You have been a mentor, teacher, coach, inspirer and so much more. You have taught me to strive to always be more, to make a difference, to challenge myself and others to be better. Thank you for your support and I cannot wait to start this new journey.”
‘This is Exactly Where I Want to Be’
Earlier, speaking to the South Sudan Football Association media team, the former Banyana Banyana player said: “When I saw what South Sudan was doing in terms of women’s football and the strategy that the SSFA has put in place, and what they have done since putting it in place, everything that they done made me excited and since then I have always wanted to be a part of something like this,” said Booysen to the South Sudan Football Association.
“This is exactly where I want to be, this is exactly what I want to do, and I want to be a part of something bigger and for me South Sudan football and the Federation plans represents something bigger.”
SSFA President Francis Amin said: “The South Sudan FA is confident in the skills that Booysen possesses, “We are delighted to announce Shilene as the next Head Coach of the South Sudan Senior Women’s Football Team.”
“Our vision is to be number one and having a full-time Head Coach is part of our strategic pan. We want to give women in the senior women’s national team full time training that is monitored, and we want to see the team competing at a high level soon.”
Perhaps the biggest praise came from the woman tasked with turning around women’s football in South Sudan.
Former Ugandan player, Jean Sseninde, appointed late last year by SSFA as its women’s football consultant, tweeted: “We are glad to welcome Shilene Booysen as our new SSFA Women’s Head Coach! She has plenty of international experience, knowledgeable, authentic and fully committed to working with us as we achieve our goals especially with the women’s national teams. The perfect fit for us at SSFA.”
Photo Caption: Shilene Booysen takes over as new South Sudan Senior Women’s Head Coach. Photo: Shilene Booysen (Twitter)