South Africa’s women football team, Banyana Banyana made history in Ghana last week when they qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
After a nail-biting tournament, Banyana Banyana reached the final of the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations, and for the first time ever, earned a spot in the all-important FIFA Women’s World Cup taking place as of 7 June 2019 in France.
As preparations commence for kick-off, we share some quick facts about the team that is flying the country’s flag high and inspiring the nation through excellence in sports.
1. Banyana Banyana was formed in 1993 and had their first official match on 30 May 1993 against Swaziland.
2. Sasol has been a proud sponsor of Banyana Banyana and women’s football for the last 10 years.
3. Desiree Ellis, the superwoman leading the squad to the FIFA Women’s World Cup, was named head coach of the team in February this year, after helping out on interim basis following Dutch coach Vera Pauw’s resignation in 2016.
4. Ellis, a retired midfielder, is the only person to win the COSAFA Cup as both player and coach. During her term as acting coach, Banyana Banyana was voted the 2017 CAF African Women’s Team of the Year.
5. Banyana Banyana legend and former player, Portia Modise started playing for the team in 2000 at the age of 16.
6. Modise is also the top goal scorer for the team, and was honoured by (SAFA) after scoring her 100th goal during the African Women’s Championship (AWC) in Namibia in 2014.
7. Banyana Banyana means ‘The Girls’.
8. In September 2018, Banyana Banyana was ranked 4th place on the African continent, preceded by Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon consecutively.
9. Banyana Banyana Captain, Janine van Wyk plays as a defender for the team. In 2012, she founded the JVW Girls Football Development Program, giving young girls the opportunity to play football in a structured and competitive environment.
10. The team’s blood, sweat and tears have not gone unnoticed! The South African Football Association (SAFA) awarded the team a R2.4 million bonus for their exceptional performance at the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) and qualifying for FIFA’Women’s World Cup.
Sources: SAHistory, Goal.com, Wikipedia, GSport.co.za, Sport24