28 August 2023 – Banyana Banyana are reaping the rewards of a great 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign after blazing a trail at the tournament hosted in Australia and New Zealand from 20 July -20 August 2023.  

Coach Desiree Ellis’ charges climbed up from 54 to 45 in the latest FIFA rankings, achieving their highest placing on the global list ever. The South African senior women’s team remained second on the continental list behind the top-ranked Super Falcons of Nigeria.

The Sasol-sponsored side made history at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup by becoming the first ever senior national team (men or women) to make it out of the group stages. They qualified for the Round of 16 after beating Italy 3-2 in their final group match. 

Speaking at the final press conference after a defeat to Netherlands in the Round of 16, Ellis said she wanted her players to be remembered as a team that lit up the World Cup stage.

“We want to be remembered as a team that lit up the World Cup, as so-called underdogs, an underdog team that plays good football but can also mix it up with the best out there. We also want to be remembered for our singing because that’s who we are and that’s what unites us and keeps us together,” said Ellis at the time. 

Banyana Banyana have also scored a nomination at the Gsport awards where they will contest for the team of the year award [for the second consecutive year] alongside Matias Women’s Rugby and Protea’s women. 

Ellis and goalkeeper Andile Dlamini also earned nominations for coach of the year and athlete of the year respectively. Dlamini is a double nominee as she will also contest for the Telkom Woman of the year honours. 

There were also nominations for Banyana Banyana headline sponsor Sasol and women’s football sponsors Hollywoodbets who will contest the Nielsen Sports SA Sponsor of the Year. SAFA referee Akhona Makalima earned the DP World African Woman in Sport nomination. 

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