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SOWETAN | Banyana ready for Paris games

Jermaine Seoposenwe of South Africa during the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, Qualifier match between South Africa and Tanzania at Mbombela Stadium on February 27, 2024 in Nelspruit, South Africa.
Jermaine Seoposenwe of South Africa during the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, Qualifier match between South Africa and Tanzania at Mbombela Stadium on February 27, 2024 in Nelspruit, South Africa.
Image: Dirk Kotze

Banyana Banyana continue to uphold their standard as a competent national team from whom we can draw pride, as they now stand on the verge of qualifying for the Olympics.

Banyana beat Tanzania 4-0 on aggregate this week to book themselves a place in the final spot to qualify for the Paris Games. They take on Nigeria over two legs in April, and should they win the tie, they will be off to the Olympics in the winter.

So dependable have Banyana become that nobody expected anything but progression when they hosted Tanzania at Mbombela Stadium this week. In fact, last week’s assured 3-0 win in Dar es Salam set the tone for our national team, enabling them to complete the job with ease.

Qualifying for the Games will be a cherry on top for Banyana, who in the past few years have achieved remarkable feats such as winning the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations for the first time, and qualifying for two World Cups (2019 and 2023).

But as they stand on the verge of a third Olympics appearance, there are reports that all is not well at Safa House, with Safa technical director Walter Steenbok allegedly at war with head of women’s football Romaney Pinnock.

If this is true, it would be so unfortunate given that not so long ago, we were all lauding Safa for being in the news for the right reasons after Bafana Bafana’s exploits at the Africa Cup of Nations, from where they returned with a bronze medal.

For once, matters on the field have dominated headlines, and Banyana typically ensured the trend continued this week. Even more commendably, they produced yet another centurion in Jermaine Seoposenwe, who became the ninth Banyana player to reach 100 caps in the match against Tanzania.

Nigeria’s Super Falcons will, of course, prove to be a huge stumbling block in our girls’ quest to book a ticket to Paris, but as they have proven before, it’s not an insurmountable task.

We trust Desiree Ellis’s team to lead SA to the promised land when the two-legged clash takes place on April 1 and 9. We call on Safa to ensure that office squabbles and irrelevant off-the-field matters do not overshadow the task at hand.


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