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Banyana Banyana leaving deep footprints on faraway fields


Those who are from any remarkable background were plucked straight from the dust bowls that parade as the football fields of our country

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So our golden girl Thembi Kgatlane did it again by getting Banyana Banyana, and South Africa, their first ever goal at the Fifa Women’s Football World Cup over the weekend; and that goal, by the way, was against Spain, of all teams in the world.

No matter what happens next, the bare fact of the matter is that this team has lots of gusto. They are over there in France purely on merit, and this in spite of their rather dire situation here at home in terms of real roots football development.

As you now know very well, this team is not expected to win anything. They were not even supposed to be over there in France. Need I remind you that this squad is self-selected. This is because none of the players are from a professional club or academy. Those who are from any remarkable background were plucked straight from the dust bowls that parade as the football fields of our country.

They are all from non-professional clubs and their lifelong sponsor Sasol, for all its undying support, merely provides a backbone that makes it possible for the girls to kick around a synthetic ball in a semi organised fashion. Safa has been, from earlier this year, been tying up the loose ends of a proposed national women’s football league.

We can’t wait!

As for Kgatlane, her pinpoint shots at goal can largely be commended for booting the squad into the World Cup in the first place. She deservedly is the toast of our national media.

To crown it all, she already has a contract with an overseas team, having joined Beijing BG Phoenix in January after her stint with the Houston Dash lapsed.

Word on the street has it that the Chinese Football Association clubs pay serious Huangs (Chinese currency) for talent in a bid to get their Super League status to challenge the top leagues of the world.

After tonight Banyana will have one more game to prove their mettle against the very best that Fifa can put together. For their troubles, this women’s team is likely to leave an indelible mark on football history generally.

Not to talk about getting into the Fifa history books as one of the few teams from the developing world to even make it to such a prestigious tournament.

It’s like Uruguay who is these days remembered more for hosting and winning the first ever football World Cup that was staged way back in 1930. Of course, we dearly hope for a slightly better course of history for our team. Oh Uruguay did win a second Cup but it seems that was all they had in the tank.

Did you notice that so many of our national teams are either flying abroad or coming back from some place?

I mean just the football alone had about three teams in the air at the beginning of the month.

The first was the Under-23 national team aka Amajita who literally dashed in and then out of Poland on a wing and a prayer for what was indeed a quickie at the youth football World Cup over in Europe.

Let’s hope some eagle-eyed scout did see some talent among the bunch of kiddies we sent over there. As for myself, I wasn’t up to prodding any football lover to meet them at the airport for autographs or a rendition of the by now outdated Shosholoza!

Then there was the Cosafa shindig albeit right here in our backyard in Durban and then Bafana Bafana is somewhere in Egypt for the their Afcon appointment as we speak.

Let’s do this!