De­part­ing De­siree dou­bly de­lighted

African Independent - - SPORT - THOMAS KWENAITE

DE­SIREE El­lis bows out of the game as a cham­pion, the first South African to win the re­gional Cosafa Cup as a player and as a coach after guid­ing Banyana Banyana to a 2-1 tri­umph over the hosts in Bu­l­awayo last week.

She won the tour­na­ment as cap­tain of Banyana back in 2002 and now in 2017 as a coach, but like the diplo­mat that she has al­ways been, she de­flected the at­ten­tion to the play­ers and em­pha­sised that it was not about her, but about the col­lec­tive, even though one could de­tect a lump in the throat as she drops the reins.

The South African Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion has hinted that they would be em­ploy­ing a for­eign coach, be­lieved to be an ex­pe­ri­enced Ital­ian, but the hi­er­ar­chy re­fused to di­vulge her iden­tity un­til they as­sem­ble a group of hacks where they plan to an­nounce her iden­tity pub­licly.

“Foot­ball is a team sport and it would be wrong of me to claim the vic­tory as an in­di­vid­ual,” said El­lis.

“The girls played ex­cep­tion­ally well and what pleases me is that this is a new gen­er­a­tion, a new group of play­ers in which 10 of them were play­ing to­gether for the first time.”

The fu­ture does look bright for the SA women, es­pe­cially when one con­sid­ers that the squad was miss­ing most of the ex­pe­ri­enced reg­u­lars like skip­per Ja­nine Van Wyk, while Noko Mat­lou

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