Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis discusses the way forward

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis discusses the way forward

Following the disappointment of not booking their ticket to Paris for the Olympic Games this year, Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has discussed a possible way forward for the national team.

South Africa lost 1-0 on aggregate to Nigeria this week, and the blow of missing out was written all over Ellis’ face.

READ: Desiree Ellis: It’s a setback for women’s football

She was reluctant at first, but Ellis did suggest the next step.

 ''The reason why I said I'm not taking too far ahead, is because there's a lot of FIFA dates coming up in between and hopefully the Wafcon, what the team would like to do is to defend it. It's always easy to win it but it is more difficult to defend it. 

''We have to consistently get regular camps, like we have done in the past. We need to get regular good oppositions, that's the only way we can test ourselves and grow,'' said Ellis.

It’s no secret that some of the Banyana players who were part of the WAFCON winning side two years ago as well as the 2023 World Cup are getting older and must now make way for the next generation.

Ellis agrees.

''With all due respect, if Nigeria is ranked number 1 and we are ranked number 2 - is to make sure that when you go to the Cosafa cup, you take a team that will gain experience, and make sure you get many games so you can test players,'' added Ellis.

SABC Sport understands Ellis was contracted as Banyana coach until after the Olympics and now that the team will not be in France, it remains unclear what the future holds. What she would like, however, is to start building a new team ahead of the WAFCON in 2026.

 ''The 2026 one doubles up as a world qualifier, and I want to make sure that those players get experience of a tournament of that nature,'' she concluded.

The current group of Banyana players have no doubt raised the bar and level in women’s football and Ellis doesn’t want to waste time finding like-for-like replacements to continue the success in years to come.