South Africa coach Desiree Ellis receives prestigious award after losing Olympics ticket to Nigeria’s Super Falcons

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Barely two weeks after getting outwitted by Nigeria’s Super Falcons and head coach Randy Waldrum, South Africa’s coach Desiree Ellis is ready to receive a significant accolade, reports.

Coach Ellis will today, Thursday, April 25, 2024, be bestowed with an honorary doctorate award at Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town, South Africa.

The 61-year-old tactician, in the first week of April, lost the Paris Olympics ticket to Nigeria after her Banyana Banyana squad lost on aggregate to the Super Falcons in the final qualifying playoff.

The Super Falcons defeated the reigning African champions 1-0 in Abuja on April 5. Despite Ellis’ confidence in turning around the tie, Nigeria ground a goalless draw in the return fixture four days later.

The result sent a huge disappointment down the football community in South Africa as it meant the Banyana Banyana would miss the Olympics for the second consecutive edition.

However, while some have called for Ellis to be relieved of her post as Banyana coach, the tactician is still receiving accolades for her achievements with the national team.

Ellis worked her magic to lead South Africa to a maiden title triumph at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in 2022.

The former Spurs Ladies manager then made history at the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup with the Banyana as the first South African side, male or female, to reach the knockout rounds of the tournament.

In December, she claimed Confederation of African Football Women’s Coach of the Year for a fourth time shortly after she was adorned with the Order of Ikhamanga in gold by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

What’s next for the Super Falcons?

While Super Falcons coach Randy Waldeum may not have received any award for his impact on the national team, the American will be expected to lead the nine-time WAFCON winners to an impressive outing at the Olympic Games.

Nigeria have been drawn into a supposed ‘Group of Death’ alongside world champions Spain, Brazil, and Japan.

Interestingly, the Super Falcons have never made it past the group stage of the Olympics, having won only one of the nine games played in the tournament.

Nigeria’s first match at Paris 2024 is against Brazil on July 25. The Super Falcons face Spain three days later before rounding up their group stage campaign with a meeting against Japan on July 31st.