Des de­serves to be Banyana coach – Fran

El­lis was Vera Pauw’s as­sis­tant for over a year

Sowetan - - Dipapadi - By Marc Stry­dom

De­siree El­lis win­ning the Con­fed­er­a­tion of African Foot­ball’s Women’s Coach of The Year prize at the CAF Awards is yet an­other vin­di­ca­tion of her ap­point­ment as Banyana Banyana coach‚ says Fran Hilton-Smith.

El­lis’s award at the cer­e­mony in Dakar‚ Sene­gal on Tues­day night was spe­cial to Hilton-Smith‚ Safa’s as­sis­tant tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor and head of women’s foot­ball‚ for two rea­sons.

Hilton-Smith was Banyana coach when El­lis played for the team in the 1990s.

She also felt the award vin­di­cated El­lis’s ap­point­ment as Banyana coach. Safa had taken a year-and-a-half‚ from Au­gust 2016 to Fe­bru­ary 2018‚ to ap­point El­lis as Vera Pauw’s full-time suc­ces­sor while she filled a care­taker role.

El­lis has steered Banyana to win­ning the 2017 and 2018 Cosafa Women’s Cham­pi­onships‚ and to the fi­nal of the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Na­tions (Aw­con)‚ where they lost on penal­ties against now 11-time win­ners Nige­ria.

As top-three fin­ish­ers at the Aw­con in Ghana, Banyana qual­i­fied for their first Fifa Women’s World Cup.

While El­lis won Coach of the Year‚ 22-year-old for­ward Thembi Kgat­lana won African Women’s Player of the Year and Goal of the Year.

“I think the rea­son Des has done well is that she comes from women’s foot­ball here in South Africa‚” Hilton-Smith said.

“She was the Banyana cap­tain for 10 years. She’s worked with a num­ber of coaches. She’s had a lot of de­vel­op­ment in her coach­ing.

“She’s done cour­ses in the Nether­lands‚ we sent her to Ger­many‚ she’s got her CAF A li­cence.

“Des worked un­der Vera for a year and a half. That was a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for Des too‚ be­cause Vera brought all that knowl­edge from Europe.

“And they are‚ in Europe‚ a step ahead. Now we’ve been able to study them and see what they do. And that’s helped De­siree to com­pete‚ which clearly she’s shown she now can‚ win­ning Cosafa twice and nar­rowly nearly win­ning the Aw­con.

“When I coached her at Banyana she al­ready showed the po­ten­tial to go onto coach­ing.

“She’s also at­tend­ing work­shops to be­come a Fifa men­tor‚ who can men­tor other coaches in Africa.”

El­lis now has six months to pre­pare Banyana for World Cup France 2019‚ where they kick off against Spain on June 8. China and Ger­many are also in Group B.

She’s worked with num­ber of coaches. She had a lot of de­vel­op­ment...

/ SYD­NEY MAHLANGU/BACK­PAGEPIX

De­siree El­lis coach of South Africa won the 2017 and 2018 Cosafa Women’s Cham­pi­onships with women’s na­tional team.

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