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Ellis Downs win awards

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Desiree Ellis and Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies raised the South Africa flag high after the Banyana Banyana coach begged the Caf Women’s Coach of the Year award, while Downs Ladies were named theWomen’s Club of Year at the Caf awards held in Rabat, Morocco on Thursday.

This is the third time Ellis wins the award, having first won in back in 2018 and in 2019, following Banyana’s incredible performance during that year’s Caf Women’s Africa Cup of Nations hosted in Ghana, with Banyana losing the final on penalties to Nigeria.

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Ellis has managed to take South Africa to their second successive Wafcon final, with Banyana set to meet with tournament hosts Morocco at Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium on Saturday.

Ellis dedicated the award to Banyana and thanked the South African Football Association (Safa) and Banyana sponsors for their support.

“I would like to say thank you to Safa and Sasol for all the support. This award is for Banyana, this award is for all the coaches who coach women’s football and it is also for all the football fans in South Africa,” said Ellis during her acceptance speech.

Ellis, has been in charge of Banyana since 2016 following the departure of Dutch born Vera Pauw. The accolade for the Banyana mentor comes after she also managed qualify the team to back to back Fifa Women’s World Cup, which will be held in Australia and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Sundowns Ladies dominance in the domestic league also spread out to the continent last year. Banyana Ba Style’s exceptional run at the maiden Caf Women’s Champions League in 2021 saw the Pretoria side write their names in history of African women’s football when they lifted the trophy.

Downs were represented by their captain Zanele Nhlapo at the ceremony, with the defender thanking everyone who made their achievement possible.

“I am so emotional, thanks to everyone who is here tonight and everyone who made it possible for us as Sundowns ladies. I would also like to thank the management of Sundowns, the players and everyone,” said Nhlapho.

On the other hand, Downs and Banyana duo Andile Dlamini and Bambanani Mbane missed out on the Interclub Player of the year award to Ghana’s Evelyn Badu.

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