Banyana score as Bafana lose out

Ladies football team has appeal for sponsor

Athenkosi Tsotsi Sports Reporter
Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis
Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

It seems Bafana Bafana’s lack of success in recent years has not only turned the public away from the men's football national team but also potential sponsors.

Steffen Knapp, the brand director of Volkswagen SA, says Bafana do not have commercial appeal because they have not been successful for long periods.

Bafana skyrocketed to dizzy heights in international football in the 90s and early 2000s, winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996 and then a runner-up finish in 1998 followed by three Fifa World Cup appearances in 1998 and 2002. By the time SA hosted the 2010 World Cup, the fortunes of Bafana Bafana had plummeted.

The declined continued in the last decade that Bafana hardly winning or qualify for anything.

Knapp, speaking to Sowetan during the VW Vaya tournament that was hosted at Sturrock Park at the weekend, where Mamelodi Sundowns boys and girls development sides won, shared why they are not associated with Bafana. 

The carmakers have partnerships with Germany, France, and the US national teams where the German brand has a huge presence like in SA.

“Bafana Bafana are not that successful at the moment; success plays an important role,” Knapp said.

He revealed that they associate with Banyana Banyana because of their form internationally, which recently was highlighted by them winning the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations. Because of their achievement in July in Morocco, SA qualified for the women’s Fifa World Cup next year.

“We have a partnership with Desiree Ellis, the Banyana Banyana coach. Here we are choosing a different route. We are focused on female soccer, there’s more of direction with the ladies, Banyana Banyana are very successful, Wafcon champions and have been at the World Cup,” he said.

The VW boss also explained why they choose to align with football national teams to grow their brand.

“We are invested in football, we are the sponsors of the German Football Association, we support the total football and academies and we are also the main sponsor of the United States soccer team and French soccer team. For us, soccer is a transport utility, a chance to move our brand in a lot of space.

“When you hear the names, they are relatively successful teams. Germany is successful, in the USA, football is developing and we are developing there and it is good to liaise with the world champions, France. That’s how we choose our partners.”

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