The South African Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa has announced a big cash award to the country’s women’s national team for their success at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco in July.
Banyana Banyana won their first-ever African title at the tournament, beating nine-time champions Nigeria in their opening game and hosts Morocco in the final.
Mthethwa, on behalf of the government, stated yesterday at a ceremony that 15 million rand (about N375m) would be awarded to the team as a bonus for their historic WAFCON triumph.
Mthethwa applauded Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis, her players, the members of the technical team and support staff after the team’s feat in Morocco last month.
Most of the players were not present at the ceremony as they are either out of the country or had commitments elsewhere with their clubs.
The team was represented by co-captain Andile Dlamini and Thembi Kgatlana, who missed a chunk of the tournament with injury.
“So significant was this Banyana Banyana feat, particularly coming at a time when we, as a country, have made the positive role played by women in uplifting society, the focus of our activities, the team was invited to share their victory with the President of the country, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, at a celebration he hosted at the Union Buildings, shortly after their arrival,” the minister said.
“The President, noting the public calls for more funds to be channelled to the team, immediately asked that the R5.8 million promised by the Department, be increased by a considerable amount.
“Today I am pleased to announce that the National Government’s contribution to the team has been increased to R15 million.
“Knowing how generous South Africans are, I have no doubt more corporates will follow the example of Sasol and later Hollywoodbets, to invest in women’s football.”
SAFA president Dr Danny Jordaan said it was important for women sports stars to be rewarded.
“This is unprecedented,” he said.
“For the first time you have the president of the country making a commitment to give them a bonus, the minister of sport doing the same, the federation doing the same, the provincial governments in our country doing the same.”
Jordaan thanked the provincial governments for also stepping up and rewarding the players.
“I am very happy that we can stand here and celebrate this special recognition of women’s football and the achievement of Banyana Banyana. Even on the continent, no team that has won the WAFCON has been given such recognition and support.”