THE South African Senior Women’s national football team, Banyana Banyana, this week celebrates 20 years of participation in international football.
In 1993, May 30, the national Women’s team played in their first international match against neighbours Swaziland and have to date played 154 international matches.
In their short history, the team has achieved several milestones including, qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games, finishing as runners up at the African Women’s Championships three times and being the first South African national football team to beat Nigeria in an international game.
Ranked 53 in the world, the team through the partnership between Sasol and SAFA has played 69 of their 154 games in the last four years, helping the team climb three places in the FIFA rankings.
“This is a great milestone for women’s football in South Africa. It has been a long and strenuous journey not only for the national team but for the organisation and women’s football as a whole,” said Fran Hilton Smith, Technical Director at SAFA.
The past 20 years have been all about the development of women’s football in South Africa and today there is a semi-professional league running, the Sasol League, that helps with the identification of talent and has exposed women in all nine provinces to competitive football regularly.
“As an organisation we are proud to be associated with the positive developments in South African women’s football. This support for women is part of our endorsement of the government policy on gender equity and women empowerment. We are pleased with the team’s progress in the last four years of our partnership and we trust that women’s football will grow in leaps and bounds,” said Dumisani Mbokane, Sponsorship Specialist at Sasol.
Between the years 1993 – 2008 the team played an average five (5) games in a year. This was before Sasol came on board as the premier sponsors of women’s national team, Banyana Banyana and the Sasol League. Over the last four (4) years, the team has averaged 15 games per year due to the opportunities that have been created by the Sasol and SAFA partnership
“Having a sponsor like Sasol has helped open doors for many young female soccer players. A few of our players are now playing club football for overseas teams and this is due to the international exposure that has been afforded them by the sponsorship. We have also seen many players getting tertiary study bursaries through the exposure they got from the Sasol League,” said Hilton-Smith.