Pay­back time for coach El­lis

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

De­siree El­lis failed to win the CAF African Women Cham­pi­onships as a player in 2000, when, as cap­tain, she led Banyana Banyana to a sec­ond-place fin­ish on home turf.

The ques­tion now is: Can the 53-year-old for­mer mid­fielder do it as a coach and suc­ceed where the likes of Vera Pauw, Joseph Mkhonza, Au­gus­tine Makalakalane and Fran Hil­ton-Smith failed?

Since they first par­tic­i­pated in the tour­na­ment in 1995, Banyana have been ever present in the event, which is now called the Africa Women Cup of Na­tions.

How­ever, they have al­ways come short of win­ning the con­ti­nen­tal show­piece.

El­lis, who cap­tained the team in the 2000 edi­tion at home, will lead Banyana in the 10th edi­tion of the tour­na­ment in Cameroon as a care­taker coach fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of Pauw.

The SA Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion has also roped in na­tional Un­der-17 coach Molefi Nt­seki as an ad­viser to the team.

El­lis hopes they can go the ex­tra mile this time around in Yaounde, Cameroon, where they will be based.

Banyana warmed up for the tour­na­ment with a 3-0 vic­tory over Zim­babwe in a friendly played on Thurs­day in Harare. A Thembi Kgat­lana brace and a goal from Le­an­dra Smeda gave Banyana the win.

Banyana will hope for the same kind of per­for­mance when the two coun­tries meet again on Satur­day in their open­ing fix­ture of the tour­na­ment.

Banyana will then play the hosts three days later be­fore wrap­ping up the group stage against Egypt.

The for­mer cap­tain had her first taste of be­ing in charge when her charges won 3-1 against Egypt in an in­ter­na­tional at the Dob­sonville Sta­dium last month.

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