Five Things We Learnt from Banyana Banyana in 2017

Has Desiree Ellis done enough to warrant the Banyana coaching job on pernmanent basis?

After finishing fourth at the African Women’s Championship in Cameroon, Banyan Banyana impressively waltzed into the Cosafa Cup triumph after fighting back from a goal down to claw their way back and into their fifth title. Their onslaught continued remorselessly to their upcoming fixture against Burkina Faso. It augurs well for their busy 2018 schedule which starts with a friendly against Sweden early next month in Cape Town and is headlined by the African Women’s Championship qualifiers, which will also double up as the 2019 Women's World Cup Qualifiers.

Here Sports Movement looks at five key aspects to emerge from Banyana in 2017.

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    #1 There is potential in the squad

    Out of the seven matches played by Banyana this year, they clinched five wins, one draw and tasted defeat only once. Coach Desiree Ellis' emphasis on squad rotation proved futile, thus confirming depth of the squad. Players like Rhoda Mulaudzi and Chantelle Esau were some of the unearthed gems and proved valuable additions to the setup.

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    #2 Desiree Ellis has plenty to offer

    Ellis, who took charge on interim basis after Vera Pauw tendered her resignation after the 2016 Olympics, led Banyana to a fourth place finish at the 2017 Africa Women Cup of Nations and followed that up with the Cosafa Women’s Championship title in September where she also made history by becoming the first South African male or female to win the Cosafa Cup Championship both as a player and a coach. Severally, she has mentioned that the bigger goal is qualifying for the 2019 World Cup. Give her the job already...


  3. #3 Bambanani Mbane and Nothando Vilakazi have something special to showcase

    In the absence of long serving captain and stalwart Janine Van Wyk - who now ply’s her trade in America- Mbane and Vilakazi both stepped in provided the stability and consistency the team needed in the backline. Vilakazi who recently joined the elite centurion club alongside Van Wyk, Portia Modise, Noko Matlou, Nompumelelo Nyandeni and Amanda Dlamini, provided the experience while Mbane also flourished in silence.

  4. #4 Debutants....

    Ellis often spoke on increasing her selection pool and players like Regina Mogolola, Nkoikoi Mabina and Zanele Nhlapo were some of the newly discovered germs who went on to shine at the Cosafa triumph. The trio became key pillars on the road against the convincing sides that Banyana faced in the tournament and proved they have enough quality to fight and earn first team berths.

  5. #5 Leandra Smeda and Thembi Kgatlana ran the show

    The University of Western Cape Ladies duo ran the show for Banyana this year. Jointly they scored nine goals including in the final of the Cosafa Cup. Domestically, Smeda walked away with UWC's Female Player of the Year whilst Kgatlana's 62 Sasol Women's League goals and her match-winning performances for Banyana at the Cosafa saw her shortlisted for the Caf Women Player of the Year. She has already walked away with UWC's Sports Women of the Year and Top Goal Scorer, USSA Player of the Tournament and Top Goal Scorer, Safa Western Cape Female Player of the Year awards respectively.