by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – SOUTH Africa’s qualification for the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) final exposes the gulf between this side and their male counterparts in international competitions.
It has reignited the debate on whether it is high time females are given an opportunity to coach male teams locally.
Coach Desiree Ellis and her Banyana Banyana side continue etching their name in national folklore and are one game away from winning their first title.
They booked their place in the final, set to be contested against hosts Morocco, after they edged She-polopolo of Zambia 1-0 in the semi-final on Monday in Morocco.
Fans are ecstatic and drew comparisons between Banyana’s exploits and the flops by the men’s team, Bafana Bafana, on the international stage.
“Make Desiree Ellis coach of Bafana Bafana,” Refilwe Morapedi, a Banyana Banyana soccer fan told CAJ News Africa.
This has been the prevailing sentiment among fans following the latest win by Banyana, whose performances make a mockery of the bigger sponsorship enjoyed by Bafana.
“Assign her to the DStv Premiership league this coming season,” another fan suggested of Ellis.
“When it comes to international football, South Africa cannot depend on Bafana Bafana. Instead, the nation must count on Ellis and Banyana Banyana,” argued Morapedi.
Some fans argue Desiree would do better coaching in the DStv Premiership than her male colleagues.
That would be unprecedented as no female has headed a men’s team in the professional league, the most lucrative in Africa.
S’thembiso Ntshangase weighed in: “I plead with the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to let Desiree coach in the DStv Premiership. She has already proved beyond doubt that what men can do, she can do it exceedingly.”
Horisani Xirindza echoed: “Give women equal opportunities as men. Allow Desiree to coach in the DStv Premiership. Where she took Banyana Banyana to, most men failed, so, why not try her at the elite league in coaching men.”
Former captain, Ellis was the Confederation of African Football Women’s Coach of the Year in 2018 and 2019.
Her side is eager to win their first continental accolade after losing five times at the final between 1995 and 2018.
Danny Jordaan, South African Football Association (SAFA) president, praised Banyana after reaching the final set for the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat on Sunday.
Zambia will contest the third-place playoff against outgoing champions, Nigeria.
“Banyana Banyana achieved this feat on Mandela Day and marked it by clinching a place in the final. We send our congratulations to the team after this massive effort,” Jordaan said.
– CAJ News