Banyana coach gives back to Hanover Park

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis receives donations for her soup kitchen from Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato
Despite not being back on the football pitch, SA women’s national team coach Desiree Ellis has been keeping busy during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The Hanover Park resident says even though her primary job is on the field, there are more pressing issues at the moment and the game she loves can take a backseat. 

Through her Desiree Ellis Foundation she has been handing out meals daily to the needy in and around Hanover Park.

Last week she received a boost for her kitchen with supplies from Mayor Dan Plato who handed over a three-plate burner stove, gas canister, two large pots and dry ingredients. 

“I live in Hanover Park so I wanted to also contribute to the people of Hanover Park. People think giving back can only be in means of coaching but through my foundation I also want to change people’s lives, not just in sport but in whatever way I can,” said Ellis.

“People look up to us and the achievements that we have (earned) so it’s important we use that to make a difference.”

The former Banyana skipper says the pandemic and resultant lockdown period has been difficult for everyone and football should not be a priority. 

However, she still interacts daily with her players and coaching staff. 

She sends daily programmes to her players to make sure they come out of the lockdown in good shape.

“I have to make sure that when we do restart, whenever that is, we are not that far behind. Interaction with players is important and making use of online coaching, making sure that we utilise the little time we have. When football resumes we will be really busy but for now the safety of everyone is number one priority and football can come second,” she said.

Ellis started her foundation to give opportunities to coaches who wish to follow in her footsteps.

She says the foundation is pushing to support more communities and they don’t only focus on the young ones but want to help older people who never had chances in life.