The South Africa national women's football team, nicknamed Banyana Banyana, held a special breakfast with the minister of sport and recreation, Tokozile Xasa in recognition of their recent achievements. Picture: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)
PUT your money where your mouth is. That is basically the message Minister of Sports and Recreation Tokozile Xasa has for corporate South Africa after her department pledged R5million towards the formation of the new soon-to-be launched Safa National Women’s League.

The ministry hosted a breakfast at a Cape Town hotel for the national women’s team, Banyana Banyana, yesterday for their achievements in the Africa Women's Cup of Nations last year.

They finished runners-up and qualified for their first-ever World Cup in France in June.

Banyana Banyana are in Cape Town this week to play two friendlies against the Netherlands and Sweden as part of the Winnie-Madikizela Mandela and Albertina Sisulu Challenge celebrations.

“Inequality is top of the agenda of South Africans and will continue to be so” Xasa said.

“As a department it is important for us as Sport and Recreation to show what we are doing in order to assist in our journey to fight this inequality.

“In the next three years we are availing R5m towards the Safa Women’s League and we want to challenge corporate South Africa to come to the party as well. We want to produce more golden girls.

“We are excited that more girls are coming through and we are looking forward to more of you getting into the professional space.

"I challenge South Africans to support this league and women’s football by going to the stadiums.

“We have put down the first brick. Corporate South Africa must bring the second brick and the media the third brick. Then we have a ladder to go up. We want more women to make a living out of sport so they can take care of their families. We want more women at Premier Soccer League matches to support Banyana Banyana.”

Safa have also pledged to offer coach Desiree Ellis’s team all the support they require for their build-up to France 2019. In addition to the two high-profile friendlies against the Dutch and Swedes in Cape Town, Banyana will also face current World Cup champions, the United States of America, in Los Angeles on May 12 and host France.

“It is important because they are playing against two teams (Netherlands and Sweden) that have been to the World Cup on many occasions,” Safa president Danny Jordaan said.

“After this we play in Los Angeles against the United States a country that has won the World Cup. And then against France a team that is also among the best. We couldn't have put together a better preparation for this team to go to the World Cup.”