This team is generally comprised of a bunch of overachievers
By now Banyana Banyana might either have made it into the big time by beating the world’s second-best team, Germany, at their maiden Fifa World Cup in France or they could be packing their bags to head back home.
I do suppose that whatever the result that Banyana will gift us with today it will come from a place of pride and joy. This team is generally comprised of a bunch of overachievers. They beat a stack of odds, first at the last Afcon, where they managed to qualify for this prestigious tournament.
Not so long ago this team had huffed and puffed for what seemed like ages in an almost hopeless effort to overcome what was aptly named their Goliath in continental football, namely Nigeria’s Super Falcons. Banyana finally overcame the Super Falcons and swung several games in their favour.
Now that Nigerian hoodoo has been laid to rest and the Super Falcons have become just another little canary to tease on the football pitch.
So who is to say that a repeat of that journey is not likely on the world stage this time around?
At the risk of repeating oneself, Monday evening’s game was a baptism of fire, whichever way you look at it. Coming up against quality opponents like Germany is generally an intimidating prospect. But then again there is everything to be gained by playing against such a well-appointed opponent. Nobody can claim that you had it easy.
The game itself will likely expose our limits as a team in every aspect of the game.
Of course, we have respectfully paid our dues against the Chinese and Spanish teams as well in our quest to be counted among the great football nations of the world.
That should be provision (mofago) enough for the management and coaching staff. So the next opponents we will meet in a field of play anywhere after this World Cup will certainly feel the sting of the lessons that Banyana would have learned from their stint in France.
At home, we will celebrate the women’s team regardless, and welcome them back as the heroines of our time. The team’s exploits over there are going to inspire many more young girls to take to the soccer field irrespective of how dire their circumstances might be at home. Remember too that from now on girls who opt to engage football as a career will have everything to gain from their involvement with especially professional football.
Monetarily too this team has, along with their international peers, charted a new path for the proper financial appreciation of women as sportspersons generally and as footballers in particular. One hastens to add that this nonsensical treatment was encouraged and nurtured by nothing else but sheer male chauvinism otherwise known as patriarchy in the fancy language of sociological studies.
The monetary compensation for women footballers that equals that of their male counterparts was but one of the many off-the-pitch obstacles that Banyana, similar to their international counterparts, had to clear in the quest to be regarded as equals.
From now on one is likely to see proud and ambitious Mums and Dads teaching little Karabo and Jenny to kick around a little rubber ball in their cots and to pitch up alongside the touchlines of the school games to watch their precious little princess strut her stuff in the little league match around the corner.
This stuff is taken for granted when it comes to boy children, isn’t it?
For all this, we will have our Banyana Banyana to thank.