26 June 2013
Women’s football in South Africa has received a huge boost, with Sasol signing a new four-year deal with the SA Football Association (Safa).
The petroleum and chemical company will remain as the headline sponsor of the South African national women’s team, Banyana Banyana, and will continue its support of the Sasol League, the country’s leading women’s football league.
The deal sees an established partnership further cemented and the continuation of the work that was started four years ago when Sasol came on board as the sponsor of Banyana Banyana.
Sasol and football have a history dating back to the days of Amaglug-glug (South Africa’s under-23 national soccer team), which got its nickname from the petroleum giant’s sponsorship. The company has been involved in the development of local football ever since.
In the last four years, it has played a leading role in the development of women’s football and has also been a key enabler of women empowerment through football, which is in line with the company’s position of supporting the South African campaign for gender equity.
Most notably, with Sasol’s support, Banyana Banyana qualified for the Olympic Games in 2012. The women’s football event featured only 12 teams, four fewer than the Women’s World Cup, which South Africa has not yet qualified to attend. The team’s results included a goalless draw with reigning World Cup champions Japan.
Banyana Banyana are currently ranked 51st in the world and fourth in Africa. They finished as runners-up in the 2012 African Women’s Championship.
“We are very proud that Sasol, in partnership with Safa, is making a significant impact on developing women in sport from the ground up,” Nolitha Fakude, executive director at Sasol, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Our players have done Sasol and South Africa proud as they have continued to improve and showcase their talent on the global sporting stage.”
The Sasol League has 144 teams nationwide and with each province having 16 teams. It has afforded many players the opportunity to further their studies at top tertiary institutions while still playing football.
“The Sasol sponsorship has played an integral role in what we have been trying to achieve with women’s football,” said Safa president Kirsten Nematandani. “It has allowed our ladies to participate in international competitions and that has helped develop the national team.
“We are excited by the renewal of the sponsorship as this allows us to extend the development opportunities to more female footballers and to continue our work in women’s football,” Nematandani said.
“Our challenge to other corporate companies is to emulate the nation building spirit of Sasol.”
SAinfo reporter and South African Football Association