It was 20 years ago that Bafana Bafana played in their very first Fifa World Cup: France 1998.
Now Banyana Banyana are also going to make their bow on the game’s biggest stage in the same country when they run out for the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup next June.
Banyana Banyana secured their place at the global showpiece with a 2-0 victory over Mali on Tuesday night in the semi-finals of the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations in Ghana.
Thembi Kgatlana opened the scoring in the 31st minute, while Lebohang Ramalepe sealed the deal late in the second half.
President Cyril Ramaphosa joined in with the rest of the country in congratulating coach Desiree Ellis and her team.
“@Banyana_Banyana just keeps making us proud. Our national team just made history by qualifying for the FIFA Womens’ World Cup for the first time during today’s #AWCON2018 semi-final match. Somebody call France, tell them Phillip is coming!” Ramaphosa tweeted soon after the end of the game.
Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa added in a statement that Banyana “have proved once more that they are the team of the year. This win will go a long way to motivate our girls to choose football as a sport of choice”.
@Banyana_Banyana just keeps making us proud. Our national team just made history by qualifying for the FIFA Womens’ World Cup for the first time during today’s #AWCON2018 semi-final match. Somebody call France, tell them Phillip is coming! pic.twitter.com/aIi6lrLpTS— President Cyril Ramaphosa (@CyrilRamaphosa) November 27, 2018
Former Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula tagged the South African team as a “real bunch of winners”, compared to dubbing Bafana a “bunch of losers” previously.
“Thank you for making us a proud nation, consistently amazing.”
Public Service and Administration Minister Ayanda Dlodlo also expressed her support for captain Janine van Wyk’s team.
“History has been made!!! Congratulations to the South African National Women’s Football team @Banyana_Banyana on your historic World Cup qualification. You have made this country very proud.”
Banyana will face Nigeria in the final on Saturday in Ghana (6pm SA time kickoff).@ashfakmohamed