African champions Banyana Banyana were hosted by the Minister of Sport, Art and Culture, Zizi Kodwa on Thursday in celebration of the team’s achievement at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which is currently underway in Australia and New Zealand.
Coach Desiree Ellis’ charges wrote their name into the history books after they became the first ever senior national football team,men or women, to make it out of the group stages of a FIFA tournament. The South African senior women’s team defeated Italy in their last group match to qualify for the Round of 16 where they unfortunately went down 0-2 to the Netherlands.
Minister Kodwa’s breakfast was jointly hosted for Banyana Banyana and the Spar Proteas, who were part of the recently-concluded Netball World Cup in Cape Town. The minister urged corporate South Africa to come on board and support women athlete.
“Women athletes made the 2023 women’s month a memorable one! I am so elated about these achievements. We owe it to them to do all in our power to afford them the recognition and support they deserve and more. May today’s celebrations be the catalyst for the continued honouring of our elite sportswomen,” said the Minister.
“I challenge corporate SA to join the Department in ensuring that we as a country recognize, cultivate and celebrate excellence across sporting codes. I have repeatedly supported the full professionalizing of women’s football and netball in South Africa.”
The event was attended by Banyana Banyana players and staff members, as well as SAFA Vice President Linda Zwane and Sasol Senior Manager: Group Brand & Sponsorships Nozipho Mbatha.
The SAFA Vice President assured the members of the media and the ministry that SAFA is working hard to professionalise the women’s game, and to ensure that women footballers are taken care of.
“We are having conversations about making the women’s league professional. What Banyana Banyana did at the FIFA Women’s World Cup is an achievement that we are very proud of, as well as the Spar Proteas. I was there in Cape Town to support the Proteas. Like the minister said, less lip service and more action,” said the SAFA Vice President.