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 Banyana Banyana coach Dr Desiree Ellis has been conferred with an Honorary Doctorate by the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

The revered Dr Ellis received the honour on Thursday, 25 April 2024 in Cape Town and she told www.safa.net she was delighted after the accolade.

“I’m deeply honored and grateful to have received this prestigious honorary doctorate from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in recognition of my contribution and collective journey in women’s football. Even though it’s a personal award, it is huge for women in sport. And in particular, we are happy that women’s football in an educational institution like CPUT can give an honour to an individual like me,” Ellis said.

“This moment reflects the collective efforts, struggles and triumphs of countless individuals. So many people have paved the way for women in sport and as I look back on my journey in women’s football, I’m struck by the challenges we have overcome.”

Ellis said she needed to thank a lot of people who have been part of her journey.

“My dream is for women’s football to continue advancing and to include a professional women’s league, not just in South Africa, but in our continent of Africa. What made it (the award) even more special is that my family was present to witness this incredible moment. Thank you to CPUT for this incredible honorary doctorate and a big thank you to Banyana Banyana and SAFA.”

Ellis was recognised for the role she has played in sport in the country, including leading the South African senior women’s team to the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations title after defeating Morocco 2-1 in the final in 2022 to win their first continental crown. The team also made history at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup by becoming the first ever senior national team (men or women) to make it out of the group stages of the global tournament. They qualified for the Round of 16 after beating Italy 3-2 in their final group match.

“What can we say about Desiree, she continues to blaze a trail,” said SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan. “We are proud of the doctorate conferred to Dr Ellis. Well deserved. Desiree has been a beacon of hope for aspiring female football players and coaches. She has proven, what men can do, women can do better. Congratulations Dr Ellis.”

Ellis was accompanied by members of her family and friends when she was awarded the Honorary Doctorate by the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. She secured the Best Coach award in the women’s category to win a record fourth CAF award in the Moroccan city of Marrakech on 11 December 2023.

This came just months after she was honoured by President Cyril Ramaphosa with the Order of Ikhamanga in gold for her contribution to sport in 2023.

Ellis was one of several recipients who were awarded top honours by President Ramaphosa at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House in Bryntirion, Pretoria, on 28 April 2023. The coach and her team have won numerous honours in the last few years in recognition of their contribution to sport.


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