Home News Banyana Banyana player receives hero’s welcome

Banyana Banyana player receives hero’s welcome

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The Kimberley Airport was a hive of activity on Thursday morning as jubilant football supporters gave Nthabiseng Majiya, a star of the newly crowned African champions Banyana Banyana, a hero’s welcome.

Banyana Banyana midfielder Nthabiseng Majiya receiving a hero’s welcome from her local soccer team, Richmond United Ladies, on Thursday. Picture: Soraya Crowie

THE KIMBERLEY Airport was a hive of activity on Thursday morning as jubilant football supporters gave Nthabiseng Majiya, a star of the newly crowned African champions Banyana Banyana, a hero’s welcome.

Majiya, who plays for Richmond United Ladies Football Club locally, was surprised by the welcome and expressed her appreciation

She said she did not expect to be given such a warm welcome.

Among those welcoming her return were Majiya’s local teammates, representatives from the provincial government, the South African Football Association (Safa) and close friends and family members.

Representing the Northern Cape provincial government, the MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture, Desery Fienies, said they are extremely proud of the remarkable achievement of the SA women’s team.

Majiya received gifts from the department, including a cheque of R10,000, while the Kimberley Boy’s High school band performed for the dancing audience.

The Province also welcomed Emma Hendricks, who was the head of delegation for the women’s national team, who travelled straight to Upington.

Majiya is a Grade 11 pupil at Orion High School in De Aar and joined Richmond United Ladies FC in 2019.

DFA sports reporter Neville Motlhabakwe lauded the Banyana Banyana debutant for the “miraculous change” she made during the game against Botswana.

“She came off the bench in the second half and scored South Africa’s only goal that won them the group stage match against Botswana,” said Motlhabakwe.

When Majiya started her career in soccer, she played for an all-male team as there were not enough other female players in her hometown of Philippolis.

She cemented her reputation as a promising footballer when she participated in the Hollywoodbets women’s soccer league.

She has represented South Africa in international games as a member of the Under-20 team since 2020.

She further earned the prestigious title of Safa Young Player of the Season 2021.

She played for the Under-17 women’s national team before she proceeded to play for Banyana Banyana.

Majiya said her wish is for women’s football to be taken seriously, and to put her team on the map in order to be recognised for the role that it played in her career at the age of 18.

According to her, she received her first real break at Richmond United after having previously belonged to all-boy’s teams.

“The welcoming today was a big surprise to me because when I announced that I was coming everyone continued to say that they will be home. Suddenly when I arrived here it was like ‘Boom everybody is here’. Oh my gosh, what a big surprise.”

She said it was sad that her mom and parents could not be at the welcoming ceremony.

Majiya highlighted that it is “not a walk in the park” to play for the national team due to the higher expectations.

“But I cope with it by pushing harder and training harder. The team is also easy to adapt with through making friends. I was never looked down on or treated differently coming from a Northern Cape team.”

Majiya lauded her local soccer team. “We have a good team. The only thing that we are struggling with is getting sponsorships. I am hoping someone out there will come and sponsor us because the coach has to continuously used his own money to buy us new soccer kits.”

Fienies said the department has been assisting the team where it could throughout the years.

“This year we have donated R350,000 to the team. We are also supporting them with transport and accommodation when it is needed.

“It was after the continued interventions that we received information that she was selected for the national team.”

Tshupo Mogajana, the assistant coach of Richmond United expressed pride in Majiya’s achievement.

He pointed out that all the achievements are through hard work, and he promised that more national players will emerge from the local team.

“We also have two more players who are playing for the national Under-17 team. We are going to have three more players in the Under-20s from this team,” said Mogajana.

He thanked the department, Safa Pixley ka Seme and the local municipality.

He mentioned that the team had to move from Richmond to De Aar in 2019 when the league started due to a lack of infrastructure.

He encouraged different structures to support women in different sporting codes and take them seriously.

Majiya’s younger brother, Katlego, 17, expressed how his sister has made the family proud.

According to Katlego, he and his sister have been practising extra hard because it was what they both wanted for each other.

“She emerged first, for which I am happy,” said the younger brother.

Majiya’s teammates expressed pride in her and said they were expecting her to make her name as she always does whenever she gets a chance to play.

The team members said Majiya always works hard and spends extra time practising.

Richmond United Ladies players waiting at the Kimberley Airport for the arrival of Majiya. Picture: Soraya Crowie

The MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture, Desery Fienies, hands over a cheque to local Banyana Banyana star Nthasibeng Majiya. Picture: Soraya Crowie
Nthabiseng Majiya celebrates with her local club at the Kimberley Airport. Picture: Soraya Crowie
Kimberley Airport was a media frenzy at the arrival of local Banyana Banyana hero Nthasibeng Majiya. Picture: Soraya Crowie
Richmond United Ladies soccer club waited patiently for the arrival of Nthasibeng Majiya. Picture: Soraya Crowie
SA military personnel showed their support at the arrival of local hero Nthasibeng Majiya. Picture: Soraya Crowie
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