26 January 2019– The family of the late struggle icon, Mama Winnie Mandela has applauded the South African Football Association (SAFA) for honouring her in a way befitting her stature.

Banyana Banyana played 7thranked Netherlands as part of the nations’ preparation for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup – but most importantly, it was a match to honour Mama Winnie for what she has done for this country. This will be an annual event with different top footballing teams.

Despite going down 2-1 Banyana Banyana held their own in a very exciting match staged at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, 19 January 2019.

“To witness how the Winnie Mandela International Challenge came to life was a proud moment for our family and organisation. The work of Our Patron, Grandmother and Mother being institutionalized in such a meaningful way, is an example of what can be achieved when we collaborate and co-operate with one another,” said Zondwa Mandela, Founding Partner – Mandela Legacy.

“SAFA has been an incredible partner and their operational excellence saw us collectively move with grace and efficiency. We are excited for the ancillary roll out programme attached to this property as it brings us closer to bourgeoning footballing communities all over our country and across the globe. We are encouraged by the support of all sponsors, government and stakeholders in uplifting the beautiful game.”

Zondwa Mandela also went on to thank Banyana Banyana for the role they played in making this a reality.

“The Mandela Legacy is committed to supporting all endeavors towards driving excellence in Women’s soccer. A big thank you to Banyana Banyana who under coach Desiree Ellis and the captainship of Janine Van Wyk, played their hearts out. We stick firmly on their side as they prepare to take on the world in the World Cup 2019, and beyond, all the best in France,” added Zondwa Mandela.

SAFA is already looking ahead to try and secure the next opponents in the Winnie Mandela International Challenge, and will make an announcement in the next few months.

“We have told the family that we will do everything in our power to ensure we only bring the best in South Africa – because this occasion is about one of the most selfless woman that ever lived amongst us. Rest assured we will bring a team befitting the occasion,” said SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan.

“But credit, and perhaps the greatest gratitude, needs to go to the Mandela Family for allowing us to use the name of this great icon as part of keeping her legacy alive. Secondly, we want to thank Banyana Banyana for coming to the party with a great display of football, despite not getting the desired result. And thanks once again to Sasol for walking this journey with us in women’s football. Your support and presence has really helped us to pull this off,”

Banyana Banyana’s next assignment is the Cyprus Women’s Cup where they have been drawn against Finland, Korea DPR and the Czech Republic.

The tournament runs from 27 February to 6 March 2019 – and this is a continuation of World Cup preparations.