Local is lekker for heroines Banyana

Banyana Banyana celebrate after beating Mali in the semifinal of the Africa Women's Cup of Nations in Ghana. They now face Nigeria in the final./ BackpagePix / Sydney Mahlangu
Banyana Banyana celebrate after beating Mali in the semifinal of the Africa Women's Cup of Nations in Ghana. They now face Nigeria in the final./ BackpagePix / Sydney Mahlangu

Having etched their names into South African football folklore by becoming the first Banyana Banyana class to qualify for the Fifa World Cup, left-back Lebogang Ramalepe and midfield ace Jermaine Seoposenwe hope this achievement motivates young girls to play football.

Banyana's historic World Cup qualification came after beating Mali 2-0 in the semifinals of the Africa Women's Cup of Nations in Ghana on Tuesday.

The victory set up a date with their traditional rivals Nigeria in the final at the Accra Sports Stadium on Saturday (6pm SA time, live on SuperSport 10).

"The whole thing of qualifying for the World Cup is a dream because whatever we do, we do it for the younger generations," said Ramalepe, who wonderfully scored Banyana's second goal.

"Back in our country, the level of women's football is too low. I think us qualifying for the World Cup opens doors for other young girls who want to play football."

Seoposenwe, who hails from Cape Town, shared similar sentiments as Ga-Kgapane-born, Limpopo, Ramalepe.

The midfield maestro reckons booking their spot in next year's World Cup in France will change the image of women's football in the country.

"We knew that qualifying for the World Cup was going to change our lives and the image of women's football in SA, that's what we always had at the back of our heads.

"It was not just us trying to do if for ourselves but we are doing it for a girl walking on the streets also wanting to play football. We wanted to change the face of women's football and the perception," said Seoposenwe.

An ecstatic Banyana coach, Desiree Ellis, didn't hide her pride that her technical team consists of only South Africans.

"We are going to France, but more than that it's for the whole country. What can I say. Ooh God is good!

"Our technical team is local, so local is lekker," said Ellis.

Having beaten the Super Falcons in the opening match in Group B, Ellis knows it will be a challenge to complete a double over Nigeria in the decider.

"Yes we've qualified for the World Cup, that was our goal but we have a final coming up. It is not always easy beating the same team twice in the tournament, so we really have to pick ourselves up and come up with another A performance," said Ellis.

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