Ellis – I Sacrificed And Here I Am A Champion Today

Author: Lorenz Kohler
 | Date: July 24, 2022

Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis has reacted to winning South Africa’s first ever Women’s Africa Cup of Nations title, saying she sacrificed a lot for this moment of happiness.

Ellis, 59, led her country to their maiden WAFCON title in their sixth final, having lost the previous five times they came this far.

The three-time CAF Women’s Coach of the Year saw her side silence the home crowd at the Prince Moulay Stadium in Rabat, Morocco thanks to two goals by Hildah Magaia in the second half.

Ellis was overjoyed after the match, speaking to SAFJA Journalist of the Year, Lorenz Kohler in the mixed zone about her difficult journey and the sacrifices she’s had to make.

“When I played for the national team I lost my job. I think it was just after 2010 I could’ve gone to the Netherlands for a UEFA B license. I wasn’t employed at the time and I had four months left on my car and I had a bond to pay. If I had gone, I’d have probably lost my car and my house because I wouldn’t have been able to pay it. So I sacrificed and here I am a champion today,” she said.

“You have the sacrifice you put in that no one sees, the hard work you put in that no one sees, that is the reward. It doesn’t come easy because we had a lot of heartbreaker along the way. We got knocked out of the Olympics, we lost the final in 2018, we lost the COSAFA Cup recently, but we knew where we were going, this was the ultimate [target].

“From the word go, when we started our training, you could see that the players were really determined and the players have been absolutely magnificent. We first lost Gabriella, then we lost Thembi. There was a bit of a somber mood but Thembi made the players understand that yes we still have it in our hands.

“When we had the Covid cases, we didn’t know who we were going to put out. The president and SAFA came through for us and helped us with that and then, of course, Sasol bought some fans along and we could hear the fans in the background, that was so fantastic.

“It makes it all worthwhile. Collin Udoh said we’re the best team in Africa but we can only be amongst the best once you have this (points at her gold medal) and today you’ve got this gold medal and it’s all worthwhile.”

In the latest bumper edition of iDiski Times, you can hear from Thulani ‘Tyson’ Hlatshwayo following his exit from Orlando Pirates, where he talks about being ignored at times, where things turned sour and what it was like to represent his boyhood club. There is also an interview with Teko Modise who speaks about his new agency, former Bucs coach Fadlu Davids who says that co-coaching doesn’t work and a whole lot more. Read the full edition below:

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