4 September 2022 – South African Football Association (SAFA) President Dr Danny Jordaan has praised Banyana Banyana after their Women’s Africa Cup of Nations- winning performance in Morocco last month.
Banyana Banyana won the title after beating hosts Morocco 2-1 in July. But the SAFA President added that things would get tougher in the coming weeks as there will be no easy matches for the African champions going forward.
The SASOL-sponsored Senior South African women’s team meet Brazil in a friendly international at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Monday 5 September 2022 after losing the first match between the two sides 0-3 in Johannesburg a few days ago.
Coach Desiree Ellis’ charges met KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture Amanda Bani-Mapena, KwaZulu-Natal Sports Federation President Mr Thami Mchunu, Deputy Director-General for Sport Dr Thobile Sifunda on Sunday 4 September 2022 and Dr Jordaan urged them to turn the tables on the visitors on Monday.
“You are required to play as champions for 90 minutes. You must defend your honour and fight to the end, thus protecting your reputation. We are now on the road to Australia and New Zealand [in the World Cup next year]. You may have setbacks on the road, but that should not become a habit. You must fix it,” said Dr Jordaan.
The SAFA President said the Association wants to see Banyana Banyana testing themselves against the best teams in the world, and Brazil fit the mold.
“If you stick to that and do what you do best, you will do well in Australia and New Zealand next year. You are a year away and have time to rectify your challenges. Go out there tomorrow evening and turn the tables,” said Dr Jordaan.
KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture Bani-Mapena said she was happy to welcome the African champions to the province.
“Thank you very much for affording us the opportunity to meet our Queens of Africa. We do not take light lightly that this crop of players has inspired a whole generation for their amazing exploits in their victorious African odyssey in July,” she said.
“On behalf of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government led Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube, I wish to extend our warm welcome to the Senior National Women Football Team – Banyana Banyana. We are greatly honoured to be graced by your presence. We wish to also thank SAFA for choosing to bring one of the two friendly matches to our beautiful city.
“I am still in awe that you went to Morocco with a few people giving you a chance to conquer the Continent following many disappointment you have endured over the years at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nation. However, you did not let that hoodoo of your predecessors be a stumbling block. When I say you have inspired a whole generation I mean those images and visuals at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Morocco on the night of 23 July will be etched in our minds forever.
“That was a feeling that had eluded us for many years since that Mark Williams brace against Tunisia in the 1996 Africa Cup of Nation Final or that Phil Masinga strike against Congo on 16 August 1997 when Bafana Bafana qualified for the first time for World Cup. While many other sporting codes like rugby have made us a winning nation, football, and soccer, in particular, remains one code that resonates with many of our people; the working class, the rich, the poor, the privileged and the downtrodden. It has that effect, whether being played by men of women.
“Your journey has been inspiring because you have had to overcome a litany of challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic which saw this country being condemned into a national lockdown with no soccer or sporting activities. This did not deter you and for me that is a true mantle of a champion. Not only did Banyana Banyana flourish in the face of adversity, but they inspired a nation and showed the country beset with a plethora of challenges the true meaning of nation-building and social cohesion. And for that we salute you.”
Dr Jordaan has urged fans to fill up Moses Mabhida stadium when the two sides meet on Monday.