Learn about Desiree Ellis, the current coach of South Africa women's team, who was among the first players in the Banyana Banyana team when it was created in 1993.
In this article, you will learn about Ellis' club career, net worth, international career, salary, achievements and so much more about the record-setting Banyana Banyana coach.
Desiree Ellis Biography
Desiree Ellis (born 14 March 1963) is a South African former footballer who now works as a coach. She is the current coach of the South Africa women's national team, Banyana Banyana.
Ellis is a founding member of the Banyana Banyana and the second captain of the national team.
During her club career she played as a midfielder for Athlone Celtic, Wynberg St John's, Spurs Ladies and some other teams.
Ellis was appointed interim manager of the South Africa women's national football team in 2016 after Vera Pauw resigned following the team's group stage exit at the 2016 Olympics.
Ellis was appointed head coach in February 2018 and has since remained as coach of Banyana Banyana at the time of writing in 2023.
She was awarded Confederation of African Football Women's Coach of the Year in 2018 after her team finished second place in the African Women Cup of Nations and qualified for the Women's World Cup for the first time.
She is honored to have won the African Women's Cup of Nations in 2022 after South Africa's long wait for a win in the finals, as her side defeated the Nigeria Super Falcons to clinch the title. Also qualifying South Africa for their second Women's World Cup for 2023.
In recognition of her contributions to football in South Africa, the South African government in April 2023, honoured Ellis by bestowing her with the National Order of Ikhamanga.
Desiree Ellis made history in August 2023 as her Banyana Banyana team defeated Italy 3-2 in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup to record their win in the tournament's history.
Desiree Ellis Early Life
Ellis grew up in Salt River in the 1970s. She stayed at her Grandmother's place after school as both her parents, father Ernest, (who passed on in 1989) and mother Natalie, worked during the day.
There were no women's clubs back then and she played soccer with boys and her cousins as her interest in the game grew stronger.
After school she’d drop her school bag, change her clothes and run outside to her waiting teammates. Her father often threatened to send her to school barefoot because she'd ruin her shoes while playing soccer.
Desiree Ellis Club Career and Stats
In her club career she played as a midfielder for quite some clubs notably Spurs Ladies in South Africa.
Here are the clubs she played for and her statistics:
Ellis first played for the Athlone Celtic side in Ireland from 1978 to 1984. She made 126 appearances there and scored 51 goals before she left the club in 1984.
Wynberg St Johns
After leaving Athlone Celtic, Ellis returned to South Africa to join Wynberg St Johns. She played a total of 44 games and scored 22 goals between 1985 to 1986.
Desiree Ellis signed for Joyces United in 1987 and played for one year. She scored 28 goals in 46 appearances for the side.
St Albans City
Ellis joined St Albans City, a club based in St Albans in Hertfordshire, England after leaving Joyces United in 1989. She continued her scoring feat as she netted 36 goals in 54 appearances for St Albans City.
Ellis made a return to South Africa as she signed for Spurs Ladies in 1991, where she played until 2002. She had her best years as a footballer while at Spurs Ladies.
She made 330 appearances and scored 231 goals.
At her retirement, she has made a total of 600 appearances in her club career and scored 368 goals. Her goals record is quite remarkable knowing she played as a midfielder and not a striker.
Desiree Ellis International Career and Stats
Ellis underwent trials for the national team and was selected. She went on to play in the team's first international match.
Ellis made her debut against Swaziland at age 30 on 30 May 1993 in a match South Africa won 14-0. She scored a hat trick, as did two other players.
In the 1995 World Cup qualifiers, South Africa beat Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola on aggregate score of 10-1, 11-5 and 6-4 but lost to Nigeria 11-2 and failed to qualify for the 1995 World Cup.
During the 2000 African Women's Championship that was hosted in South Africa, she captained the South Africa women's team to a second place finish.
Later that year, Ellis was nominated alongside Nigerian duo Mercy Akide and Florence Omagbemi for African Women's Footballer of the Year.
She was recognized for her services to the game the same year as she received a Silver Presidential Sports Award.
Two years later, Desiree Ellis led Banyana Banyana to the 2002 COSAFA Cup victory.
Ellis had 32 caps for South Africa; she won 23 matches, lost seven and drew two, and scored six goals for the Banyana Banyana.
She retired from football in April, 2002 at the age of 38, before switching over to coaching.
Desiree Ellis Achievements and Awards
During the course of Ellis' career both as a player and a coach, she has achieved some brilliant feats which we are going to list here.
- Founding member of Banyana Banyana and the second captain of the team
- Ellis has 32 caps for Banyana Banyana and scored six goals
- In 600 total appearances in her club career, she scored 368 goals
- CAF Women's Coach of the Year in 2018
- Qualified South Africa for their first-ever Women's World Cup in 2019
- Guided Banyana Banyana to a maiden African Women's Cup of Nations title in 2022
- Qualified South Africa for their second Women's World Cup in 2023
- Achieved Banyana Banyana first ever win in the Women's World Cup in 2023 against Italy
- Qualified Banyana Banyana into 2023 Women's World Cup Round of 16
Desiree Ellis Age
The legendary former Banyana Banyana player and current coach was born on 14 March 1963 which makes her 60 years in old 2023.
Desiree Ellis Salary
Ellis' salary as coach of Banyana Banyana is not made public. As a result, we don't have her salary figure but we will update when such information is made public.
Desiree Ellis Net Worth Growth
Ellis has seen her net worth grow over the years since becoming coach of Banyana Banyana.
Here is her net worth growth in the last couple of years.
- Net worth 2023: 33.5 million
- Net worth 2022: 30.1 million
- Net worth 2021: 26.8 million
- Net worth 2020: 23.4 million
- Net worth 2019: 20.1 million
Desiree Ellis Partner
Based on what we know publicly, she is currently single. She is not dating anyone. But she could have a partner that is kept away from the public eye.
We also don't have much information about her past relationship and any previous engagement or if she has children as well.
Desiree Ellis Frequently Asked Questions
How old is Desiree Ellis?
Born 14 March 1963, Ellis is 60 years old.
Where was Desiree Ellis born?
She was born in Salt River, Cape Town, South Africa.
Who is Banyana Banyana coach?
South Africa women's team coach is Desiree Ellis.
Which award has Desiree Ellis won?
Ellis won CAF Women's Coach of the Year
Is Desiree Ellis married?
As of 2023, Ellis is unmarried.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago