Johannesburg - Banyana Banyana footballers deserve advisory services to manage their cash bonanza
The South African national women’s football team, Banyana Banyana, made the country proud through their victory at the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) held in Morocco.
Banyana Banyana won this year’s WAFCON final 2-1 over the host nation.
The South African team’s undefeated on-field performance earned them $500 000 (R8 000 000) in prize money, and entry into the FIFA Women’s World Cup which will be hosted jointly, in July-August 2023, by neighbours Australia and New Zealand.
“It’s a feeling of amazement and gratitude to be able to secure the first-ever WAFCON title for South Africa, and a second qualification to the World Cup,” said Banyana Banyana central midfielder Thalea Smidt.
Their prize money was boosted by both the South African Football Association (SAFA) by a sum of R9.2 million and the Department of Arts, Culture, Sports and Recreation chipped in to the value of R5.8 million.
Smidt, a central midfielder for football team Mamelodi Sundowns FC in the locally-sponsored Hollywood Bets league, said her employer provided their team with personal finance management and psychological well-being services.
“Although I do have my own personal agent, the other professionals were supplied by my club and team,” explained Smidt.
The central midfielder said that many of the country’s women footballers ply their trade in the league that has not been certified as professional, and as such, the players essentially play for their teams voluntarily while working full time.
“If we had a league that was certified as professional, we would probably have more investment in development and sponsorship to help clubs pay their players,” Smidt said.
Financial advisers for professional athletes, if certified and competent, are meant to provide athletes with a goal-based approach to achieving their financial objectives.
This includes personal budget management, debt and debit-order management, insurance cover, estate planning, and tax advice. These workers help players to better understand their financial constraints, their risk tolerance, and help them to achieve their long-term goals.
Founder and financial advisor for Women’s Wealth South Africa, Lianne Lutz, explained that South African women do not have the needed financial literacy for managing their accounts and large money transactions. This makes it difficult for them to go about choosing the right adviser, let alone understand the need to create financial plans.
“One of the most important things about finding the right balance for your financial future is to ask for help if or when you feel overwhelmed,” Lutz said.
“In society, women often have no control over their financial reality. When they start interacting with large purchases either property, cars or investing, it is important that they know every step of the way.”
She highlighted how important it is for professional athletes, in the case of Banyana Banyana, to turn to their financial team (whether independent or club-associated) and set up concrete financial plans during the active years of their career and when they have hung up their boots.
“The earlier you invest, the more time your money has to potentially grow. As professional athletes, it helps to have a team of independent money advisers on your side. Not just for your future growth and your career, but also for peace of mind while you work,” Lutz said.
Ankur Patel, a senior portfolio manager from Ellevest, the US-based private wealth and financial robo-adviser focused primarily on women, said via email, that an athlete’s financial team should reflect what the athlete desires with their finances.
“In order to best help you manage your money, these pros should be working together. Pick these people carefully. Ask them whether they’re willing to communicate with one another. And make sure their values line up with yours and that they’re going to put your best interests first,” Patel said.
Banyana Banyana’s large purse has brought forth the topics of financial management for professional footballers, and the gender pay gap between our national football teams.
In total, the women’s team received R15 million for their efforts (R380 000 individually), but this is largely lower than their male victorious counterparts, the Lions of Teranga, Senegal, who, earlier this year, won the men’s edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, and earned the $5 million (R83 million) prize.
The disparaging gap between the continental winners was amplified this week after Banyana Banyana’s homecoming. Problems in the world of women’s sports are not limited to salaries, but the gender pay gap has become one of contentious issues in South African football.
The New Frame, a Johannesburg-based non-profit and social justice media publication, revealed in a 2018 article, that Bafana Bafana were paid eight to 10 times more than Banyana Banyana for competitive matches (this excludes major tournaments such as men’s AFCON and the FIFA World Cup).
President Cyril Ramaphosa, in a speech at the Union Buildings on Tuesday, said that the country should begin to bridge the pay gap between Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana, and that Banyana Banyana should be rewarded fairly for their achievement at the WAFCON 2022.
To the Banyana Banyana team, the president said, “You deserve equal pay for equal work that you do.”
“We need to give added remuneration to these young women who have made our country so proud. But having done so, we must then make sure that we eliminate the whole process of unequal pay out of our system.”