On Saturday, November 14, Banyana Banyana won the 2020 COSAFA Women’s Cup. Their 2-1 victory over Botswana marked the seventh time they won the cup. This was their fourth consecutive victory in the competition. They had an unbeaten run to the final which took place in Port Elizabeth. Even as Banyana Banyana continues to achieve new accomplishments and records, they still remain under appreciated within South Afican footballing circles.
Here are some things that need to be changed immediately to give the team the utmost respect they deserve.
- Pay them more. While Banyana Banyana has consistently produced the results on the pitch in the biggest of tournaments and with the best performances, they are still paid less than their male counterparts Bafana Bafana. The wage disparity isn’t just a problem in South Africa but how great would it be to make the change with the national team. Show a positive example to the rest of the world. More than that, give Banyana Banyana the proper payments for the efforts and success they have achieved.
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- Publicise them more. While the men’s team are advertised on television and there is a lot of publicity generated around the biggest stars, the same can’t be said for Banyana Banyana. Their matches just don’t get the same attention. They still have to rely on their corporate sponsorships to be successful. Their games need to be advertised and given the same fanfare as the men’s team. The media has a responsibility here to give Banyana Banyana the same coverage as the men’s team.
- Treat them like how Bafana Bafana is treated. Regardless of whether Bafana Bafana is successful or not, they are still paid and get all the benefits. With the women’s team there always seem to be more conditions attached to them. They have to play level in order to get the extra pay or to get the extra benefits. That needs to stop. This team is achieving the most with the bare minimum. Imagine what they can do with the resources that the men’s team is given.
Read more: How Banyana Banyana won 2017
- Make them a professional team. Banyana Banyana are still considered an amateur team. Most of the women’s teams in South Africa are not professional. This means they often have to work other jobs alongside their sporting career. Making them professional would make a huge difference to how they play.
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- Get the league up and running. While the Sasol league has been taking place, when are the women going to get a premier soccer league. The effects of the league have already been shown. Coach Desiree Ellis said: “The players who had shone in the Sasol League were the ones who were at the forefront of our championship-winning efforts.” Imagine what it would mean if they could play professionally week in and week out domestically. It would also mean players don’t have to wait for a contract from an overseas team in order to play.