9 July 2020 – Despite there being no football around the world due to the corona virus pandemic, Banyana Banyana are still optimistic that they will return to the game they love.
The squad had a good two years where they won the COSAFA Women’s Championship in 2017 and 2018, made the final of the 2018 Africa Cup of Nations, which saw them qualify for their maiden FIFA Women’s World Cup – which was held in France in 2019.
They recently celebrated their one year anniversary of playing at the higest level of the game.
Banyana Banyana haven’t stopped singing the praises of their greatest support that saw them through to the World Cup.
“No matter which way you look at it, we would not be there without the backing of Sasol – we are who we are today it is because of the way they not only spoke commitment to women’s football but also showed it in every way they could,” said Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis.
“In our time we did not have such opportunities but since Sasol’s arrival we have seen a real surge in the game, which has meant bigger and stronger competition from all round – and that resulted in Banyana Banyana reaching their greatest milestone in history, and we will forever be grateful to our proud sponsor for the amazing work they have done.”
Most of the players in the Banyana Banyana squad started playing football in the Sasol Women’s League, which was formed back in 2009.
The league comprises 144 teams competing in the nine provinces across the country, with over 2800 players competing every weekend.
The Sasol League has, and continues to afford many female footballers with an opportunity to play football week in, week out.
This is where the national team coaches are able to scout for talent for the U17, U20 and Banyana Banyana national teams.
“I would say that the Sasol sponsorship and partnership for women’s football has played a huge role in what I believe has been the upliftment and empowerment of the women’s game in our country. It has allowed our National Team Banyana Banyana to participate in international competitions and compete against top international teams, and that has helped develop and strengthen the game in South Africa,” said Banyana Banyana captain Janine van Wyk.
“The platform provided by Sasol has given players and teams opportunities to build their profiles and showcasing their abilities within the game. I am truly grateful that Sasol has been a partner, believed and invested in women’s football for so many years, because without Sasol, I am not sure which direction women’s football in our Country would have taken.”
There are currently several Banyana Banyana players plying their trade abroad – and most of them learnt the tricks of the trade in the Sasol League.
South Africa now has players in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, Serbia, Albania and Belarus, among others.
“We have to thank Sasol for their unwavering support because if it wasn’t for them, I don’t think of these players would be where they are. Sasol set the foundation and we can never thank them enough. And we are saying as we are going through this pandemic as footballers, we should take a moment to pause and think of all they have done for us,” added Janine.
“We will soon be back on the field and I know with Sasol’s support, we will again sour to greater heights. What is important right now is for everyone to take care of themselves, be safe, practice correct protocols and let us unite so we can battle this pandemic and get back to the game we love much.”
Speaking a few years ago when Sasol extended their partnership with SAFA for a further four years, SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan said the following:
“The Sasol partnership has not only changed lives for the better for our football playing community but has provided life changing opportunities for most of our football playing women/girls. A number of Banyana Banyana players were now studying and playing professional football overseas, and this was a win-win situation in the sense that apart from improving their own careers outside football, their involvement with overseas clubs would benefit Banyana Banyana.”