Over the years, Banyana Banyana have proven their worth on the field and in major competitions. To top it all off, this week Desiree Ellis and her girls went on to book a spot in the final of the African Women Cup of Nations and qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup that is set to take place in France next year.
SportPesa ambassador, Doctor Khumalo pointed out in this week’s Clubhouse column that our female national team do not get the same recognition as their male counterparts, despite their achievements.
“We don’t celebrate our women football achievements as much as we should, in comparison to their male counterparts. Let’s quickly look at Desiree’s track record. She was the Banyana captain and went on to be the only South African – male or female – to win the COSAFA Cup Championship both as a player and as a coach! She achieved this feat in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, two years ago. At the time, she was Banyana’s interim coach, following the departure of Vera Pauw.
“Women’s football has grown so much in the last two to three years and the girls have been making the country proud. However, I feel we don’t embrace and celebrate them enough! Desiree has really revived our national team since taking over the reins, without taking anything away from Vera who obviously worked very closely with Des. They both learned a lot from each other.
“We all know that there was a bit of scepticism when it came to finally giving Desiree a chance to coach the team, after being made a caretaker coach for a long time, with rumours of another foreign coach likely to take over. I’m glad that never distracted her on her mission and you could see her positive outlook from her team. Like I always say, the team is a reflection of the coach.”
Khumalo went on to talk about individual players, especially Thembi Kgatlana who has been outstanding in the tournament. To read more on what ‘16V’ had to say, check out this week’s column in Soccer Laduma, issue 1101.