Banyana coach Desiree Ellis celebrates with her Cosafa Cup winners' medal. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Banyana coach Desiree Ellis celebrates with her Cosafa Cup winners' medal. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Ellis holds the Cosafa trophy alongside captain Refiloe Jane. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Ellis holds the Cosafa trophy alongside captain Refiloe Jane. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - Desiree Ellis gave a loud laugh when reminded that it’s been over a year since her appointment as Banyana Banyana’s interim coach.

Not that she was amused by the fact she had to play babysitter for a year while the SA Football Association took their time appointing a new coach after the resignation of Vera Pauw late last year.

However, it is the frustration that came with having to prove herself to her bosses that she was trying to mask with her broad smile.

Just last last month, Safa CEO Dennis Mumble said Ellis was now in the final three they were considering to bring in on a fulltime basis to lead the national women’s side in qualifying for the 2019 Women’s World Cup and in next year’s Women’s Afcon tournament in Ghana. But Ellis is not preoccupied with all of that.

The Banyana legend, who has now won the Cosafa Women's Championship both as a player and coach, is focused on the here and now, hoping to have her side ready when they take on Burkina Faso in their first friendly against them on Sunday at Dobsonville Stadium (3pm).

“This past Friday actually, I celebrated my (first) anniversary of me being Banyana’s caretaker coach,” Ellis said with a chuckle.

“What makes it even more surreal is that we played Egypt (in a friendly they won 3-1 in Dobsonville), and this year we’ll be playing against Burkina Faso. That’s just crazy (how time has flown).

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it though, and until I get told differently, I’ll continue doing what I love the most.

“Burkina Faso haven’t played much,” Ellis added. “But they’ll be using this friendly to prepare for a tournament they’ll be participating in next month.

"We know that they're a very physical side. They’re quite quick as well, but we are not going to concentrate on all of that. We are just going to focus on our own game and try to execute what we really need to do on the day.”

Sunday’s clash sees some of Banyana players such as Janine van Wyk and Andisiwe Mgcoyi making their return after having missed the recent Cosafa tournament in Zimbabwe.

Banyana’s most trusted striker Jermaine Seoposenwe could not make it for this tie due to club commitments, and Ellis said doors were still open to players like midfielders Sanah Mollo and Amanda Dlamini, who are yet to feature under Ellis’s leadership.

The Star

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