Ellis eager to impress in first test

SAFA president Danny Jordaan today confirmed Ellis's promotion after she served for 17 months as an interim coach following Vera Pauw's departure.

Banyana will jet out the country on Friday to compete in the Cyprus Women’s Cup. Their first match is on Wednesday against Slovakia after which they will face Korea DPR and Hungary in Group C.

The 54-year-old Ellis has been tasked with steering Banyana to the African Nations Cup, the World Cup and the Olympics.

“Banyana Banyana has a very hectic 2018, and this Cyprus Cup could not have come at a better time," said Ellis.

“Because of the nature of the tournament, we are unable to win it but will instead use every opportunity to get ready for the upcoming AFCON qualifiers and the tournament proper – which also doubles up as a World Cup qualifier. But we are confident we will not disappoint as I believe we have a very solid team that will do the business.

“I will also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me on this journey – all the players, the coaches, colleagues. I also need to make a special mention about Vera Pauw, from whom I have so learnt so much, as well as our proud sponsor Sasol, without whom we would not be here today. I believe with South Africa behind Banyana Banyana, 2018 is going to be a great year for all of us. We have a lot of work ahead, but I am confident we will get to our destination, which is qualifying for the World Cup in France.”

Ellis has registered eight wins, two draws and five losses in charge of Banyana. Her side has scored 27 goals and conceded 15 in the 12 away and three home matches.

Ellis is the only person to win the COSAFA Cup as a player and coach, and as interim coach Banyana was voted the 2017 CAF African Women’s Team of the Year.

South Africa finished fourth at the CAF African Women’s Cup of Nations in Cameroon in 2017.