Banyana Banyana head coach, Desiree Ellis’ list of achievements continue to grow and inspire young girls who dream of having a career in football.
Ellis recently retained her CAF Women’s Coach of the Year award after leading the women’s national soccer team to their first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup in France last year and a hat-trick of COSAFA Cup victories.
She sat down with gsport Editor, Kass Naidoo, in an in-depth interview at The Zone in Rosebank, Johannesburg on Wednesday, 29 January 2020, as she highlighted winning the prestigious award for the second time.
“As a coach, your job is obviously to get the team to a point where they perform, get the team to a point where players improve and whatever happens after that I think it is a bonus,” she said.
“We don’t do things for awards and rewards but obviously if the team does well and we pride ourselves on work ethic and team ethic, and if the team does well then individual’s standout.
“The efforts of the players contribute a lot to individual’s getting nominated and awarded.”
Speaking on the awards night, Ellis says, “I was very emotional. I know the work that the players have put in over the year, the coaching staff and it’s an award for everyone!
“Winning it back-to-back is huge. It was special winning it the first time but to win it back-to-back is always much more difficult and I think that was just an amazing feeling.”
Ellis’ journey to continental success has seen her journey from player to coach, which has had its challenges.
“I started from the ground. I worked in school’s football, I worked in junior football, while I was playing. I started from the ground and worked myself up.
“There were so many coaches that Vera Pauw (former Banyana Banyana coach) could have taken as an assistant coach and she chose me.”
Ellis points out that there is much more than what meets the eye when it comes to coaching.
“It’s not about putting a whistle in your mouth and just blowing. People think that’s what it is about, it’s a whole lot of things! Watching the opposition, preparing for the camp, sitting with the team and getting a squad together, doing the rooming list, doing the schedule (when we eat, sleep, train, do the video analysis).
“It’s then watching the training afterwards together with your technical group who are fantastic because they each have a role and then going back and doing a report, having to reflect on all of those things.”
Ellis also chats about being part of the gsport Hall of Fame and how much the initiative means to her. Check out the full interview in the slider above!
Photo 1 Caption: Banyana Banyana head coach, Desiree Ellis, has become a formidable coach on the African continent. Pictured here at The Zone in Rosebank, Johannesburg on Wednesday, 29 January 2020. Photo: gsport
Photo 2 Caption: gsport Editor, Kass Naidoo, interviews reigning CAF Women’s Coach of the Year, Desiree Ellis, at The Zone in Rosebank, Johannesburg on Wednesday, 29 January 2020. Photo: gsport
Photo 3 Caption: gsport Editor, Kass Naidoo, Banyana Banyana head coach, Desiree Ellis and gsport’s Editorial Strategist, Celine Abrahams, pictured at The Zone in Rosebank, Johannesburg on Wednesday, 29 January 2020. Photo: gsport