2 August 2023 – South African Football Association (SAFA) President Dr Danny Jordaan led the praises for Banyana Banyana after coach Desiree Ellis’ gallant charges made history by qualifying for the second round of the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time on Wednesday (2 August 2023).
The African champions secured their place in the next round of the global tournament, being co-hosted in Australia and New Zealand, when they beat Italy 3-2 in their final group match at the Wellington Regional Stadium. The swashbuckling Banyana Banyana tore the form book apart by beating higher ranked Italy to book a place in the second round where they will face Netherlands on Sunday, 6 August 2023 in Sydney, Australia.
Dr Jordaan said the Sasol-sponsored side had brought joy to millions of fans on the whole continent, not just in South Africa.
“We would like to congratulate our girls for making history and bringing joy not only to 60 million South Africans, but to the African continent as a whole,” the SAFA President said.
“Beating Italy (3-2), a country ranked several places above us, showed the determination, professionalism and focus of the African champions. While we cherish and celebrate this historic moment, we must maintain our focus as we prepare to meet Netherlands in the second round.
“It’s anyone’s game now and this Banyana Banyana side have shown they have what it takes to go places.”
Dr Jordaan was joined by regional body COSAFA, Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Zizi Kodwa and Premier Soccer League chairman Dr Irvin Khoza, who also sent their congratulations to the team.
“COSAFA would like to extend our congratulations to Banyana_Banyana after their historic 3-2 victory over Italy at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which has sealed their place in the round of 16. Coach Desiree Ellis and her team have made our region proud and added to Zambia’s maiden World Cup victory against Costa Rica!,” COSAFA said in a statement.
“Banyana Banyana have done it! What a performance. This is a historic moment for South African football. This is a historic moment for women’s sport in the country. Round of 16, here we come,” said Minister Kodwa.
“The Banyana Banyana victory answered the question “how do you win under such scrutiny and pressure?” The answer is consciousness – you need to be conscious all the time. There is simply no place to hide, and where there is no place to hide, honesty is the only sustainable answer. Well done Banyana Banyana,” said Dr Khoza.
Millions of fans around the globe continued to celebrate the African champions throughout the day on Wednesday after the team’s historic march in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.