South Africa: Desiree Ellis delighted with 2023 performance

Desiree Ellis
South Africa: Desiree Ellis delighted with 2023 performance

Desiree Ellis gives a glowing review of sport in South Africa in the 2023 calendar year. As coach of the women's soccer team, she contributed to a fine showing at the 2023 World Cup.

2023 was a banner year for South African sport. Desiree Ellis has played a big part in it. The coach of the women's national team guided her players to the Round of 16 at the World Cup. A year after winning the African championship. However, the coach doesn't want to take all the credit for her and her team.

"Let me start by saying that this has been the year of women in sport," she tells BBC Sport Africa. We had the Under-19 Women's T20 World Cup and the Women's T20 World Cup in South Africa, the Netball World Cup (in Cape Town) and the Football World Cup as well. It's been a fantastic year for women in sport.

There was also the title at the Rugby World Cup in France, and the two trophies won by the Mamelodi Sundowns women's team (Women's Champions League and African Football League). "With Sundowns doing so well, it bodes well for both national teams (men's and women's) in the future."

2024, a year of challenges

Desiree Ellis continues. "It's been a fantastic year for sport in the country. Sport unites everyone and has brought the country closer together. It's fantastic for South Africa that we can compete on all fronts in different sporting codes around the world and do really, really well. It bodes well for the future and gives us a great boost going forward. There's a foundation there that we just need to constantly build on and make sure that we're enjoying this momentum and building on it, so that when the next competition comes around, we're not just competing in it, but winning it. It all culminated in the Springboks' crushing one-point victory, but that's exactly what sport is. It's kept us on our toes, but it's also brought the nation together," maintains the woman who was voted best coach of a women's soccer team in Africa in 2023.

However, Desiree Ellis doesn't want the rainbow nation to rest on its laurels."We need to make sure we get on the bandwagon and keep it going for a very long time." To do so, the South African women's national team will face several challenges. The first will be qualifying for the 2024 Olympic Games. Then there will be the defense of the continental title since the Women's AFCON will take place in 2024, in Morocco. Banyana Banyana and their coach will be hard at work.

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