5 October 2018– The South African Ambassador to Chile, His Excellency Mr Thabo Thage visited the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana at their hotel to give them an official welcome to Chile, and also wish them well in their upcoming fixtures.

Desiree Ellis’ charges arrived in the capital Santiago on Wednesday, 3 October 2018 to start preparations for the squad’s two friendly matches against their counterparts from Chile.

The matches are part of preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament scheduled for November in Ghana. The competition also serves as qualifiers for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers to be played in France in June.

Ambassador Thage, who was accompanied by his wife Busisiwe Thage, addressed the team.

“First of all let me give you a warm welcome here to Chile. On behalf of the South African government, we are honoured to have you here in this part of the world. And at the outset, let me also congratulate you on retaining the COSAFA Women’s Championship title – it was no mean feat but you did it,” said His Excellency.

“We are now confident that with you going to the African Women’s Cup of Nations tournament in Ghana, you will raise your game a notch up and go all the way so you can qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France next year.”

Thage added that Banyana Banyana have made the headlines in Chile by being the first African women’s team to visit the country.

“You are in the news, you are the talk of the town since you are the first African Women’s National Team to visit Chile and to play here. No other team has ever been invited to play here, and that speaks volumes about this team. As the South African embassy based here, we are rooting for you because you carry the flag of our country. What is even more pleasing is that your visit coincides with the Centenary Celebrations of Madiba – we are eternally grateful for your presence,” added Thage.

“So go out there and have fun and show them what we are made of. We are positive you will get good results. On the other hand, this historic has given us an idea to start a cooperation agreement with Chile for the benefit of many South Africans. Thank you once again for honouring the invitation, this will go a long way in bringing the two countries closer together.”

Banyana Banyana will face Chile on Saturday, 6 October and Tuesday, 9 October.

The first match will kickoff at 18h30 local time (23h30 South African time) at Estadio Sausalito in Vina del Mar, while the second will be played at Estadio Santa Laura in Santiago.

Kickoff is at 03h00 South African time(22h00 local time)

Banyana Banyana will fly back home on Wednesday, 10 October and land on Thursday, 11 October.