Banyana coach Ellis asks government to help make pro women's football happen
Following an impressive run in the Fifa Women's World Cup, where they reached the last 16, Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has called for the women's league in SA to be professionalised.
Banyana's run in the World Cup ended when they lost 2-0 to the Netherlands at the Sydney Football Stadium in Australia on Sunday morning.
They showed a much-improved display in what was their second World Cup appearance, which left many people around the world impressed. Women's football in the country is not professional, and Ellis feels there is a lot of talent which can see all the national teams do well if they can be professional.
"I think we need a professional league and for the players to come out and perform at this level against countries who play week in and week out against the top teams in the world, it shows we have talent," Ellis told the media during the post-match press conference.
"To the sponsors, I don't know why you could ignore a special like this, I don't know how you can assist in getting us to climb the ladder and assisting us to get better.
"We still have players like Kaylin [Swart] having a 9-5 job and having to train in the evening. I think that is unacceptable. "For what this team has achieved, I think the corporates need to stand up and really take notice and be counted to say, 'we are here.' "Otherwise, we will come back in four years' time and we will show the same thing because we could have gone further."
Ellis feels had the league been professional, Banyana would have gone even further than the last 16 of the global competition. "The possibility of us winning was there and it was there for everyone," she said.
"So we urge the corporates to come on board, the government to step in and assist where they can push the corporates to come on board because it is not just our senior team but our youth team as well. "What do you expect when you go to the tournament unprepared because of a lack of facilities?"
Despite losing to the Netherlands, Ellis was proud of her side's performances and rued their missed chances.
"We had a lot of opportunities, especially in the first half, to kill the game. "But in the end, the legs were not there anymore for us to keep on pushing for the duration of the game. A goal there and there we should be speaking differently, but I think the whole of SA should be proud of this team."
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