Coach Desiree Ellis is hoisted into the air by the Banyana Banyana players at Cape Town International Airport on Thursday. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Coach Desiree Ellis is hoisted into the air by the Banyana Banyana players at Cape Town International Airport on Thursday. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Desiree Ellis holds her Caf trophy alongside the Banyana Banyana squad. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Desiree Ellis holds her Caf trophy alongside the Banyana Banyana squad. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Desiree Ellis receives the Women’s Coach of the Year award from Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura. Photo: EPA
Desiree Ellis receives the Women’s Coach of the Year award from Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura. Photo: EPA

It was a time to rejoice for Banyana Banyana as they toasted their coach Desiree Ellis upon arrival in Cape Town on Thursday.

Ellis was chosen as the Caf Women’s National Team Coach of the Year at the continental awards in Dakar, Senegal on Tuesday night.

Star striker Thembi Kgatlana was also a big winner for Mzansi, clinching the African Women’s Player of the Year and Caf Goal of the Year.

The rest of the Banyana squad were already in Cape Town ahead of their training camp before taking on The Netherlands on 19 January (3pm) and Sweden on 22 January (3pm), both at Cape Town Stadium.

So they made sure that they welcomed Ellis home at the Cape Town International Airport on Thursday afternoon.

The players, led by captain Janine van Wyk, sang and eventually lifted Ellis into the air.

“It was a surreal moment for me. I am truly humbled and blessed by the award – we don’t do things for awards and rewards, but I suppose if the team does well, that is the outcome,” Ellis said in a Safa statement.

“It is a great moment for me, but I have to give credit to my assistants – we strategise and come up with a plan, and it’s up to the players to execute the plan, so it is a collective effort by the entire team.

“I am also grateful to Safa for having faith in us as female coaches in the national teams, but also giving the necessary support by making sure that we get top-quality opposition.”

@ashfakmohamed


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