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If Banyana can achieve what they have achieved with an amateur structure like the Sasol League, imagine what they can do with a semi-professional structure that will see the best teams play against the best

Banyana Banyana in training. Picture credit: safa.net

The Banyana Banyana dream of playing in the World Cup will finally come true at Le Havre, France, tomorrow. The senior women’s national team will make their World Cup debut against Spain. This should have been their second appearance in the global showpiece, but they somehow failed to beat an average Ivory Coast team in Namibia five years ago.

The sad thing about that was that qualification for the global showpiece would have been a fitting finale to the glorious career of Portia Modise, who scored her 100th international goal in the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations in Namibia and scored Banyana’s first goal at the 2012 Olympics in England. Modise and many talented players hung up their boots without ever playing in a World Cup.

This current crop has already written their names in the history books by becoming the first side to qualify for this tournament.

Banyana are yet to be crowned African champions, having lost in the final last year, as they did in 2012.

Their appearance in the World Cup will help the team improve their football and raise their game. It will also give the players a good opportunity to market themselves and grow what is already a healthy list of South African players plying their trade abroad.

A couple of corporate bodies celebrated Banyana’s qualification to the global showpiece with some wanting to jump on the bandwagon and “donate” money. But those same institutions haven’t jumped on board to sponsor the national SA women’s league that is scheduled to kick off after the World Cup. Why not?

If Banyana can achieve what they have achieved with an amateur structure like the Sasol League, imagine what they can do with a semi-professional structure that will see the best teams play against the best.

We wish coach Desiree Ellis and her team everything of the best at the World Cup. They are in a tough group with Spain, Germany and China, but we know they will do us proud. Viva Banyana!