'Fifi' still has a lot to offer in Europe – Ellis

‘I really think she mustn’t come home yet’

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Refiloe Jane of South Africa in action during the FIFA Women's World Cup.
Refiloe Jane of South Africa in action during the FIFA Women's World Cup.
Image: Matthew Lewis - FIFA

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis believes her captain, Refiloe Fifi Jane, still has a lot to offer, advising her to remain in Europe after parting ways with her Italian outfit Sassuolo a few days ago. 

The 31-year-old Jane joined Sassuolo in August 2022, a month after helping Banyana clinch their first-ever Africa Womens Cup of Nations (Wafcon) title in Morocco. The midfielder from Kliptown in Soweto spent three years with AC Milan before joining Sassuolo.

Ellis reckons Jane still has what it takes to stick it out in Europe, bemoaning the injury she picked up at the World Cup as a blow that complicated things for her at Sassuolo as she started to struggle for game time after the World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand last year.

I think Fifi still has a lot to offer abroad. Unfortunately, the injury that she picked up after the World Cup [in fact she picked it up at the World Cup] derailed her because before that, she was a regular at her club, Ellis told Sowetan on the sidelines of an event TymeBank arranged to hand over a R2m cheque to her team at the banks headquarters in Rosebank yesterday.

I am sure she has ambitions of going back to Europe... Europe would be poorer for not having Fifi if she didnt end up there. I am sure she will make the right decision because at the end of the day, we can advise but she must make the decision right for her. Maybe she now wants a better challenge, but I really think she mustnt come home yet.

In the 2022/23 season, Jane was a key player for Sassuolo, featuring in 22 games. Things werent as rosy for her in the just-ended term as she only played seven games.

Meanwhile, TymeBank had promised to give Banyana R2m before they departed for the World Cup last July. Ellis hopes more corporations will follow in TymeBank's footsteps and inject money into womens sports. 

Its great to be rewarded and hopefully more companies can come on board for women in sports. We are so grateful that TymeBank has fulfilled the promise they made before we went to the World Cup last year,Ellis said.

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