Banyana Banyana mentor pays tribute to her charges after winning Cosafa Women’s Championship

by Benice BurgerSeptember 26, 2017

Banyana Banyana caretaker coach Desiree Ellis has paid tribute to her team’s gallant effort after they beat Zimbabwe 2-1 to win the Cosafa Women’s Championship crown on Sunday.

Thembi Kgatlana and Leandra Smeda scored in each half to help South Africa to their fourth Cosafa title at a packed Barbourfields Stadium.

“This is a special group of players‚” said Ellis‚ who also won the regional tournament as a player in 2002.

“Just when you think it’s finished they surprise you all the time.

“It’s unbelievable to now have achieved this as a coach 15 years later. “The technical (team) was also fantastic because we kept the players in one piece throughout the tournament.”

Ellis‚ 54‚ maintained that Banyana didn’t play their best game despite them finishing the competition unbeaten.

“I thought at times we could have played more football but we played in patches‚” she said. “We were in complete control in the first half but we started playing the long ball in the second half; this is not our strength and it allowed Zimbabwe to come back in the game.

“People didn’t see the best of us.” Almost overcome by emotion‚ Ellis also dedicated her achievement to her family.

“This is for my family because I’ve been away from home more often than I have been there. “My family have supported me tremendously and this is also for the team and the country.”

Kgatlana was voted Player of the Tournament. She and Smeda also finished as the team’s joint top scorers with four goals apiece


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Benice Burger