Ellis: It was a surreal moment

Ellis was appointed permanent coach of Banyana early last year after serving as a caretaker for over a year and proved that she was the right person for the job all along, as the team won the COSAFA Championships and qualified for their first ever FIFA World Cup by reaching the final of the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) in Ghana.

Banyana are in Group B at the World Cup that will take place in France from June 7 to July 7, with Spain, Germany and China PR to compete for the top two places.

“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. 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,” Ellis told SAFA's website.

“You cannot forget our proud sponsor Sasol. This is the 10th year they are backing women’s football and as the slogan says ‘the opportunities are limitless’. We are very grateful. This award is also for all the coaches in the Sasol League because of the tremendous work they put in. I should also thank the coaches that have come before me at Banyana Banyana as they laid the foundation and we have just continued with that. They say ‘it’s all in God’s timing’ and this is the time. Thank you very much South Africa, but the hard work starts now as we prepare for our next big challenge, that is the World Cup.”

Banyana are currently in camp preparing for next week’s international friendly matches against the Netherland and Sweden.