The President of the South African Football Association (SAFA) Dr Danny Jordaan has applauded the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana for an outstanding performance in front of a very good crowd at the Moses Mabhida Stadium where the South Africans played to a 1-1 draw against the Reggae Girlz of Jamaica.
The clash took place on Sunday, 7 April 2019 and was the farewell match for Banyana Banyana as it was the last game on home soil before they jet off to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Dr Jordaan, accompanied by vice President Ria Ledwaba, visited the Senior Women’s National Team at their hotel after the match.
“You have not won your match but you have made the crowd that was here and everybody who was watching very happy. You have changed the face of women’s football in this country forever. For people to use their hard-earned money to get into public transport or drive their cars to the stadium, means you are doing something right,” said Dr Jordaan.
“Previously we played at smaller venues so that fans from around the area can just walk to the stadium and watch you play, but over the last few months it has become very clear that supporters are willing to follow you everywhere and anywhere – that is a huge shift and achievement for women’s football in this country, bearing in mind that we will soon be launching the National Women’s League. You need to be proud of the work you have all done for the future generations of women footballers.”
The President said Banyana Banyana has played a key role in lifting the mood of the citizens in the country.
“Our country is going through a bad period, and where do people run to? To Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana. So when the two teams do well, fans that go to the stadium to watch, return home very excited and momentarily forget about their problems because nothing else matters. So you must always remember the important role you play across the nation,” added Dr Jordaan.
About the World Cup tournament, the President said he was happy that South Africa was drawn in a tough group, as it would show their mettle.
“Yes I am glad because South African players have a mentality of looking down on other teams. If you are drawn with Tahiti or Swaziland, already there is expectation to win – like you have to arrive and walk over, which is what we saw with Bafana Bafana vs Seychelles in the away match. How does one explain 6-0 in the first leg and 0-0 in the second? It all boils down to mental strength,” said Dr Jordaan.
“But when it’s a tough group you see the real South Africa – a case in point is your match in the 2017 COSAFA semi-final against Zambia when you were 3-0 down and you came back and won, also when Bafana Bafana needed a win recently against Libya away – so it is a case of mental strength, how much do you want it. We believe in you, the whole country believes in you and now you have to believe in yourself when you get to France.”
Dr Jordaan concluded by telling the players that proceeding into the second round is possible.
“With all their world stars, who would have thought that Germany, Portugal and Argentina would be knocked out and Croatia could be in the final at Russia 2018? If you walk into the field and play a country based on history, that will lead to your downfall – play what’s in front of you at the time,” he said.
“You have no idea what going into the second round would do this country. We live in a special country where when we lose they go into a deep whole, but success brings out the best in them because that is what they are longing for. And I saw the hurt when we lost the 2006 World Cup bid, shortly thereafter I shared the excitement with them when we won the right to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. You saw how many turned up at the airport after you qualified for France, now imagine what going into the second round would do to them. And you can do it, we all know that you can.”
Banyana Banyana next face the USA as they look to finalise their 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The match will be played on 12 May 2019.