Desiree Ellis saddened by players that didn’t make World Cup squad

Banyana Banyana final squad during the Banyana Banyana FIFA World Cup squad announcement at Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House in Pretoria on 25 June 2023 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

The head coach of the national women’s football team, Desiree Ellis, choked up as she described her sadness at having to part with the players who, in her opinion, deserved to represent their country in the World Cup.

Last week, she revealed the names of the players who will compete in the World Cup, which will be held in Australia and New Zealand in a month’s time. The coach was compelled to reduce the number of players over 30 to 23. Desiree Ellis’ team consists of a combination of the Afcon champions from the previous year and five fresh faces.

In the most recent World Cup, South Africa was defeated in each of its three games. Since they were the champions of the African continent, Banyana Banyana will be more confident and experienced this time.

“The decision-making process affected me deeply because I witnessed the disappointment of the players who did not get chosen. I could see their despair in their eyes,” Ellis remarked at a meeting in Pretoria.

Every football player hopes of competing in the World Cup; thus, the players’ disappointment was inevitable. However, the coach was obligated by FIFA to fix a certain number.

“I chose because it was necessary. It is difficult to be a coach without compassion. I know how determined other players were, so leaving them was the hardest thing for me to do.

“I used to check the players we’ve chosen when I woke up at night to see if they would be suitable for the style of play we would play. I tried to explain to the players who were not chosen that they were left out because there were many players playing their positions,” said Ellis.

South Africa will face tough opponents like Argentina and Sweden. The good news this year is that Banyana Banyana will go to the tournament aware that they would receive the same compensation as Bafana Bafana the men’s national team players.