Tough test awaits high-riding Banyana Banyana
CAPE TOWN – South African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan says the timing of the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Challenge and Albertina Sisulu Centenary friendlies is perfect preparation for Banyana Banyana.
The country’s national women’s football team face the Netherlands and Sweden on Saturday and Tuesday respectively at Cape Town Stadium as part of their preparation for their maiden appearance at the World Cup in June.
“We are very happy with where we find Banyana in their history, with them preparing for France.
“They find Banyana when the coach, Desiree Ellis, was named Coach of the Year on the African continent. When a player was named the best player on the African continent and scored the best goal. We think it is the right time to take the team to the next level to test them against the best teams in the world,” Jordaan said yesterday.
“We all look forward to some great football and to also remember the legacy of these two icons, that the memory of these two women is always etched in every South African. We look forward to a unique celebration."
Mayor Dan Plato was equally happy that Sweden will return to the Mother City after their maiden visit last year.
“We are looking forward to hosting some wonderful soccer matches this weekend.
“We are a sports-mad city and we appreciate what these beautiful matches brought to our beautiful city. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this event runs smoothly,” he said.
Zondo Mandela of the Mandela Legacy project said that the two football matches formed part of a greater initiative the project was trying to achieve.
“The Mandela Legacy is a foundation that focuses on gender equality and inclusion. And it goes without saying that gender equality and inclusion was very important to our honorary patron, Mama Winnie Mandela. Our agenda is very simple. We do believe that the cup will culminate in a fantastic game, but the primary objective is to have many initiatives throughout the year that are going to ensure that we include women in different leadership roles. Sport and health are promoted at schools,” he said.
“So, in any way that we as a family can lend a hand to such initiatives, it is very important. Hopefully these messages will reach the right ears. One understands that these two grandmothers contributed to society.
‘‘I am sure it is going to be a fantastic initiative and I implore all to come out and support it.”@ZaahierAdams