AFRICAN WOMEN’S FOOTBALL: South African Sheryl Botes rewrites history as the first foreign female coach for Uganda

South Africa’s Sheryl Botes has made history after she was appointed as the first foreign female Head Coach of the Uganda Senior Women’s National Team.

She has signed a three-year contract, ending in 2026.

The announcement was made by the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) after she was revealed to the media on Wednesday, 15 November 2023.

“I want to thank Botes for having been the most successful candidate among the many who applied for the job, we welcome you to Uganda. And I want to assure you that the Federation will give you maximum support that you need to achieve the goals of the Federation and also your individual goals,” said FUFA President Moses Magogo.

Botes is the former Head Coach of the South African U20 Women’s National Team, and was more recently the Head Coach of the SAFA Girls Soccer Academy which operates from the University of Pretoria’s High Performance Centre (HPC).

She is also a qualified CAF Instructor of Instructors, the second South Africa after Fran Hilton-Smith.

“There are a lot of building blocks in terms of tactical strategy, in terms of technical strategy that I will be bringing to the table. But most importantly I would like to build a close relationship with the coaches at club level because if we are going to play in a certain way and we must have it in the Leagues as well,” said Botes after her unveiling at FUFA House in Mengo, Uganda.

The Crested Cranes, as the Uganda Senior Women’s National Team is known, have not had a permanent Head Coach since July last year after they were knocked out of the group stages at the 2022 CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.

They lost Senegal and Morocco and played to a draw against Burkina, leading to coach George Lutalo being relieved of his duties.

The former Banyana Banyana player takes over from interim head coach Charles Ayiekho, who led the squad during the 2024 Paris Olympic qualifiers. They failed to progress to the third round after a 3-2 aggregate defeat to Cameroon.

“We received over 40 applications, they were five Ugandans. We did an analysis and it has taken us time to get an experienced and qualified coach in women’s football on the continent and in the world,” added Magogo.

“It has been a long process, we were slow, but we wanted to be sure that we appoint the right person. The coaches who held the positions on interim were not on evaluation.”

Botes joins FUFA with three compatriots – David Ribeiro (Goalkeeping Coach), Ashley De Beer

(Sports Scientist) and Phuphu Mohlaba (Video Analyst) – as part of her backroom staff. But the Association says it has plans to incorporate local coaches at a later stage.

She will also oversee all other Youth Women National Teams.

Botes appointment comes hot on the heels another South African, Shilene Booysen, making the great trek to North Africa where she has been named the Head Coach of Wadi Degla, one of the biggest women’s football clubs in Egypt.

Booysen was previously with Banyana, first as a Performance Analyst before returning for a second stint as a Technical Advisor at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She also led the South Sudan Senior Women’s National team over a two-year period.

Prior to this announcement, Simone Conley was recruited to the Middle East by Al-Ittihad in the Saudi Women’s Premier League to be their Biokineticist and Conditioning Coach. She is now based in Jedda in Saudi Arabia.

Conley was just recently with the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana at the World Cup – but before then she was on the books of Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies. She also once worked at Platinum Stars.


  • Born in Matroosfontein, Cape Town (Western Cape) 
  • Played for Banyana Banyana
  • Groin injury put paid to her playing career
  • Obtained SAFA Pro Licence
  • Also holds a CAF A Licence
  • Part of COSAFA Technical Study Group
  • Part of CAF Technical Study Group
  • Currently an Elite Instructor at CAF
  • Previously Head Coach of SA Women’s National Teams: U17, U20, Banyana Banyana
  • Has been Technical Advisor to Banyana Banyana in a match against Egypt
  • Was Banyana Banyana opposition Analyst at the Rio 2016 Olympics

By Matlhomola Morake

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