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Banyana get R16m from Fifa to prepare for World Cup

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis during the South African Football Association press conference at SAFA House on January 13, 2023.
Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis during the South African Football Association press conference at SAFA House on January 13, 2023.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Banyana Banyana have received a massive financial boost of R16m from Fifa to help with the women's senior national team's preparation for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

This was confirmed by South African Football Association (Safa) CFO Gronie Hluyo during a press conference at the federation’s headquarters in Johannesburg on Friday.

African champions Banyana are set to make their second appearance in the World Cup that will be co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia from July 20.

“We received funding from Fifa to prepare Banyana Banyana for the World Cup,” Hluyo said.

“What we received from Fifa is $960 000 (R16m). That money is going to be used to prepare the team for the World Cup.”

Banyana’s preparation plan for the tournament is still not clear except that they will feature in the Cyprus Women’s Cup in April and are planning to play at least six matches before the World Cup.

Banyana coach Desiree Ellis said they will announce their opponents for friendlies in due course but it will be teams that are similar to Sweden, Italy and Argentina, who are in the same group as South Africa for the World Cup.

“The first engagement that we will have is the Cyprus Cup. We will also have the pre-camp just before the Cyprus Cup,” Ellis said.

“The next Fifa international break is in April, but we are looking at having two opponents (before that) as send-off matches (to Cyprus Cup).

“(We are targeting) opponents that are similar to our opponents that we will be playing in the World Cup,” she said.

“In between that we will also send our programmes to the core group of players that we have.

“The next Fifa date is only in July but we are looking at having a short camp in May for the local players because the overseas players are currently active,” Ellis said.

“At the beginning of July we begin with our full preparations, first at home and then in New Zealand.”

Safa technical director Walter Steenbook also confirmed that Ellis’ technical team is set to get two new members.

The association is set to announce Banyana’s technical adviser and second assistant coach soon.

Steenbok said the new incoming members are both South Africans and women.

This was done with the recommendation of the head coach, Ellis.

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