Ellis dedicates award to Banyana charges

The national women's team coach received the prize at the South Africa Sports Awards at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Ellis was recognised for making history in September by becoming the first South African to win the COSAFA Women’s Championship as a player and coach.

She said: “I feel really blessed to have received this Excellence Award from the minister. When you are doing something you enjoy and love with a passion, then awards and a reward like this is extra special. It took years of commitment and dedication and many sacrifices along the way.

“I don’t feel the award is just about me. I am more than happy to be receiving it on behalf of the entire Banyana Banyana squad, my technical team, support staff, SAFA and our proud sponsor Sasol. Coaching the team is an amazing experience, and from the bottom of my heart, I would like to acknowledge everyone who has supported me since I became part of something this special.”

The 54-year-old added: “I have received several awards before – like the silver presidential medal, and in 2015 I received an Excellence Award as part of Banyana Banyana for qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Receiving an award is something very special and the Minister’s Award ranks among all the other ones because I believe an award or reward can’t be measured in ranking of importance as each holds a significant and special attachment.”