6 April 2019 – The Honourable Executive Mayor of Ethekweni Municipality, your worship Zandile Gumede,
FIFA Chief of Women’s Football chief, Sarai Bareman, the President of COSAFA, Dr Phillip Chiyangwa and his wife, the Secretary General of COSAFA, Sue Destombes, good evening.
Our committed Sponsors SASOL represented by senior VicePredisdent, Cindy Mogotsi and Elton Fortuin, our Vice Presidents Ria Ledwaba and Gay Mokoena, the Head of Delegation of Banyana Banyana Natasha Tshichlas, members of our National Executive Committee, our Provincial and Regional leadership, thank you for gracing this occasion.
A special welcome to the Raggae Girls of Jamaica, the FA President, Micheal Rickets and your entire delegation. accompanied by your high commissioner Madam Angela Comfort.
Our own team led by our Coach Desiree Ellis and her technical team, captain Janine van Wyk and all our players, our Senior Men’s National Coach Bafana, Stuart Baxter who has just qualified for AFCONJ and our u/20 coach Thabo Senong who is going to Poland for the FIFA u/20 World Cup, SAFA CEO Russel Paul; ladies and gentlemen, welcome.
We want to thank the Jamaican FA. They were incredible hosts when Bafana Bafana played in Kingston, Jamaica accompanied by Mama Winnie Mandela whose presence generated a tremendous outpouring of admiration, emotion and admiration.
She was loved in Jamaica. We congratulate you for qualifying for your first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup .
As in 1998 both Bafana Bafana and the Reggae Boys qualified for their first FIFA World Cup in France and in 2019 both Banyana Banyana and the Reggae Girls qualified for their first World Cup in France.
It a long journey that brought us here tonight, a journey that subjected our Banyana Banyana team and sponsors SASOL to several tests and many days of stress.
Firstly, a test for resilience, guts and a will to win in the COSAFA tournament in Zimbabwe; they showed determination and strength to turn defeat into an incredible victory to be crowned the COSAFA Champions.
Secondly, a test for the ability to withstand and triumph over an intense physical battle against Cameroon to be crowned COSAFA champions for the second consecutive time in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Thirdly, a psychological test of self belief and mental strength as they marched on to the African Cup of Nations facing Champions Nigeria in the opening match. This time they needed guts, determination, football skill, physical ability to break the phycological barrier of never having defeated Nigeria.
The team defeated Nigeria 1-0 through a goal which was celebrated over the entire continent and World Cup hope was born.
The victory against Mali secured the ticket for the FIFA World Cup France 2019 .
This achievement reflects the dedication, commitment, perseverance, the hardwork and sacrifices made by the team and technical staff.
However, there are many who traveled with you on this journey. Our committed sponsors SASOL, we thank VP Cindy Mogotsi and Elton Fortuin who was with you the every inch of the way.
Present at every match, always ready to assist, Sasol shared the common vision we pursue for this team and women football in our country in general.
Therefore, this journey with SASOL is one of transformation of South African football and society ,
It must create life changing opportunities for girls and women . It must present opportunities that will create a better life for women players.
Through Banyana it is a journey to build social cohesion and actively contribute to a better gender sensitive nation.
It is a journey that presents a player pathway that is driven by a clear vision of development from grassroots, the Live Your Goals program, to schools and youth football to a SASOL provincial league, to a national league producing quality national teams at the elite level.
We set out to increase women participation in South African football. We started with 220, 000 players in 2013 and increased it to 456,000 players currently. The target is to reach 1 million players in 2022, with a strong focus on girl teams in Schools Football
One million women players out of a total of 3,2 million players or 33,3% of our players are women.
We need to continue to inspire girls to play football by empowering women in leadership.
We currently have 5 women serving on our National Executive, one Vice President and 4 NEC Members.
In our 52 Regions, we have two women Presidents and each of the 52 Regions have a women as Vice Presidents.
In World football the men version of the game leads the women; how do we reverse the situation where women football is lagging behind in every aspect of the game?
Bafana Bafana qualified for the FIFA World Cup in 1998 and Banyana Banyana in 2019 21 years later.
We must analyze the specific challenges facing women in football and respond in order to accelerate the drive for equal treatment of women and men footballers.
For example, the prize money in CAF and FIFA tournaments are as follows; in AFCON, men winners pocket US$1 while it is US$80 0000 for women.
SAFA took a decision to appoint women coaches for all our women teams and the success has been remarkable.
Even the hosting of the Women World Cups follows this pattern of men having hosted the FIFA World Cup followed by the bid for Women World Cup.
1994 USA men hosts, followed by 1999 Women’s WC hosts
2002 Korea/Japan men 2023 bid from both Korea and Japan
2006 Germany men hosts, followed by women World Cup
2010 South Africa men hosts and bid for 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup
2014 Brazil men hosts followed by 2023 bid women.
1. For every footballer the pinnacle of global competitions remains the Fifa World Cup and your qualification together with that of Jamaica makes this evening a historical and very special occasion.
2. We thank FIFA for the specific focus on Women Football, the growth of Women football throughout the World through the FIFA strategic plan for women football