Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) champions Banyana Banyana will play two away international friendly matches against Senegal during the FIFA break in the coming weeks. This was confirmed by football motherbody SAFA on Wednesday. Bafana will face the West Africans in their backyard on 31 May and on 4 June 2024.

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“We have always said that we are going to utilize the FIFA dates going forward and we now have these two international friendlies against Senegal,” said coach Dr Desiree Ellis. 

“We need to stay active to be ready and prepare for the WAFCON. “There are players coming back from injury, and we also want to see other players during these friendlies against Senegal,” she added. 

Banyana Banyana will play two away international friendly matches against Senegal
Banyana Banyana

“We need to prepare and be ready for WAFCON. We haven’t received any communication on when it is going to happen. But we will utilize these FIFA dates to make sure that we start preparing.”

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY MATCHES FOR BANYANA BANYANA CONFIRMED 

The next WAFCON will be held in Morocco. But the dates of the start of their defence of their continental title are yet to be announced.

The final 23-player squad for the away international friendlies against Senegal will be announced in the coming days.

Banyana Banyana are now two games away from qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games after beating Tanzania 1-0 in a second leg Third Round CAF Women’s Olympic qualifier at the Mbombela stadium on Tuesday night.

The African Champions came into the tie with a strong aggregate score after beating the Tanzanians 3-0 away from home in the first leg in Dar es Salaam on Friday.

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However, the Sasol-sponsored team knew that the job was not completed. They worked hard to ensure that they kept the visitors at bay in Mbombela.

It was a rusty start for the hosts, but they visibly grew in confidence as the game progressed with the vociferous crowd at Mbombela stadium cheering them on.

Banyana Banyana are now two games away from qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games after beating Tanzania 1-0 in a second leg Third Round
Banyana Banyana in Mbombela

Despite a few chances created in the opening period, the two sides could not find a breakthrough and the match was still goalless at the halftime break.

The elusive goal that the crowd had been waiting for finally came in the 57th minute when a Kholosa Biyana free kick found Thembi Kgatlana, who calmly slotted home the opener to give the Tanzanians a big mountain to climb.

The visitors displayed a great fighting spirit and tested Banyana Banyana goalkeeper Kaylin Swart a few times, but none of their chances materialized into the equalizer they so desperately sought.

BANYANA BANYANA TWO GAMES AWAY FROM OLYMPICS QUALIFICATION

Coach Desiree Ellis’ charges created numerous chances but despite their efforts, they could not find the second goal that the fans in the stands were calling out for.

The next hurdle for Banyana Banyana will be Nigeria’s Super Falcons in a two-legged match to be played between 1-9 April. The winner will be one of the two African nations to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Tuesday night’s second leg clash against Tanzania also served as a special tribute to Jermaine Seoposenwe, who became the 10th Banyana Banyana player to win 100 international caps.

Banyana Banyana were held to a 1-1 draw by Burkina Faso in the first leg of the CAF 2024 WAFCON Qualifiers at the Charles Konan Banny Stadium on Thursday.

The two sides went to the break deadlocked at 0-0 after a physical first half that saw a Thembi Kgatlana goal being disallowed for an offside in the 38th minute.

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Janine Van Wyk started the match and captained the side for her 184th cap to level the African record set by Ahmed Hassan (Egypt).

Hildah Magaia, who had not registered her name on the scoresheet in a long time, broke the deadlock in the 56th minute to give Banyana a crucial away goal.

Banyana Banyana held to a draw by Burkina Faso
Noko Matlou in action for Banyana Banyana

BANYANA BANYANA SUFFERE A DRAW IN QUALIFIERS

However, the lead did not last long as Yasso Konate levelled matters for Burkina Faso in the 68th minute. Despite numerous attempts from coach Desiree Ellis’ side to get another goal and seal victory, it did not materialise and the teams eventually had to settle for a share of the spoils.

The second leg will be played on Monday, 4 December 2023 at the Lucas Moripe Stadium and will also be Live on SABC Sport.

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has named the team to face DR Congo in two 2024 CAF Women’s Olympic qualifiers this month. Long-serving former captain Janine van Wyk has been brought back to the squad.

The Banyana Banyana coach made the announcement during the Sasol League National Championships at the Dr. Petrus Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein on Thursday.

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“It is important to say thank you to players like Van Wyk for the amount of work, sacrifice and dedication they have given to the country.

“Janine has led the team with aplomb for so many years and she did it while wearing her heart on her sleeve. I used to say that if I had 10 Janines on the pitch. she was someone that never gave up and that still resonates in the national team, of never giving up,” Ellis said.

“If you look at what Janine has done, not just for the national team, but for women’s football in the country, I think it is only fair that she gets her flowers.”

Van Wyk has earned 183 international caps during a gloried career and should Ellis play her in the two matches, she will become the most capped player, male or female, on the continent.

Banyana squad

Ellis said she has kept a close eye on DR Congo and will relay as much information as possible to her players.

“We also know what their strengths are and we have to make sure that we take control of the game. I think the first 20 minutes will be key, and we have to make sure we do not concede.”

BANYANA BANYANA TEAM FOR OLYMPIC QUALIFIERS NAMED 

Sasol Senior Manager: Group Brand and Sponsorship Nozipho Mbatha congratulated the players who have been selected to the South African senior women’s team and wished the team well ahead of the two assignments.

“We would like to congratulate everyone who has been selected to play against Democratic Republic of Congo. The last time the team qualified for the Olympic Games women’s football tournament, it was in 2016 and we believe that the chosen team can change that.

“We encourage them to keep at it and go do their best. We are all standing behind you for we know you are a team that is known for performing the impossible,” said Mbatha.

Banyana Banyana will face the DR Congo in the first leg away from home on 25 October 2023 and then host the Congolese in South Africa on Monday 30 October 2023.

Tickets to the match at home at Orlando Stadium are free and can be collected from the stadium. The tickets will be available for collection at the Soweto venue from Thursday 26 October 2023.

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has named a strong squad to face the U.S. women’s national team in two international friendly matches. The matches will be played in Cincinnati and Chicago this month.

Ellis has kept faith with the majority of the players who blazed a historic trail in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The injured Refiloe Jane and Bambanani Mbane will miss the trip to the USA. They have been replaced by Lonathemba Mhlongo and Sinoxolo Cesane.

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The former FIFA Women’s World Cup champions will host the Sasol-sponsored South African senior women’s team in Cincinnati at TQL Stadium on 21 September 2023, and in Chicago at Soldier Field on 24 September 2023.

Ellis said the African champions will be highly motivated when they play against the pedigreed Americans in their own backyard.

“This group of Banyana Banyana players is very grounded and they have shown that they can step up at any time. They have shown that they have the mentality, and I think you do not need any motivation when you are playing against the USA. They won’t need any motivation and this is another opportunity to test themselves,” Ellis said.

The Banyana Banyana coach said the players have an opportunity to once again show the world what they can do after impressing in Australia and New Zealand. She said the Americans are still one of the best teams in the world and will be tough opposition for the African champions.

BANYANA BANYANA SQUAD TO FACE USA

Banyana Banyana squad for USA friendly matches revealed
Banyana Banyana squad to face USA

“Congratulations to all the players who received the nod from the technical team and were called up by the coach for this assignment,” said Nozipho Mbatha, Sasol Senior Manager: Group Brand and Sponsorship.

“Being entrusted with such a responsibility to represent South Africa after Banyana Banyana’s sterling performance in Australia and New Zealand, will bolster each player’s commitment to continue on the trajectory of high performance, inspiring those that follow in their footsteps to dream big, knowing nothing is impossible that which they put their mind to. Banyana Banyana has proven to all of us that consistent handwork contributes towards success. On behalf of Sasol, we wish them all the best.”

The two sides are coming from participating in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, with both registering contrasting fortunes during the tournament held from 20 July – 20 August 2023. The USA made their ninth appearance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup while the South Africans were making their second.

HISTORY MAKING NATIONAL TEAM

Banyana Banyana made history at the 2023 global tournament by becoming the first ever South African senior national team (men or women) to make it out of the group stages of a FIFA event. They qualified for the Round of 16 after beating Italy 3-2 in their final group match. The USA, on the other hand, arrived as defending champions but exited the tournament on penalties after a scoreless draw with Sweden in the Round of 16, the first time they have not made the semi-finals at the tournament. It was the earliest exit ever for the now third-ranked four-time World Cup champions.

Coach Ellis’ charges climbed up from 54 to 45 in the latest FIFA rankings, achieving their highest placing on the global list ever. The South African senior women’s team remained second on the continental list behind the top-ranked Super Falcons of Nigeria.

The Hollywoodbets Super League is back after a long FIFA Break as we are coming from the Women’s World Cup 2023. The recent Women’s World Cup saw Banyana Banyana doing well and managing to make it to the round of 16.

On Wednesday, 23 August we saw the battle of the students and it was a Pretoria Derby. The University of Pretoria Ladies FC defeated TUT Ladies FC 2-1 at the University of Pretoria Stadium.

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On Saturday, Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies FC managed to come back home with three points as they defeated Copperbelt Ladies FC 1-0 in Polokwane. UWC Ladies FC on the other side, won 1-0 beating UJ Ladies FC.

JVW Girls FC defeated Ma-Indies Ladies FC 3-0 and the last game was between TS Galaxy Queens FC against Royal AM Ladies FC. The full-time score was 4-1 in favour of the Rockets. On Sunday, University of Pretoria were visited by an Eastern Cape-based side, City Lads Ladies FC. They didn’t disappoint as they managed to win 5-0.

SUNDOWNS STILL LEAD AS HOLLYWOODBETS SUPER LEAGUE IS BACK

Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies FC are still on top of the log with 50 points, followed by UWC Ladies FC with 48 points. UWC Ladies FC still has one game in hand. The Brazilians Ladies played 19 games while UWC Ladies FC played 18 games in the league.

By Banele Hlakanyana

The Nominees for the 18th edition of Momentum Gsport Awards were announced on Tuesday.

Andile Dlamini, Jessica Nkomo, Kgothatso Montjane from Seshego and Samantha Wright are double finalists for Africa’s longest-running women’s sports awards.

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Limpopo-based journalist Lethabo Kganyago [main picture] is nominated in the Mail & Guardian Woman in Print category.

There’s double glory for the most celebrated athlete on the gsport stage, Kgothatso Montjane, who features in the Brand SA Para Sport Star of the Year and Global Woman in Sport categories. 

In 2023, Montjane has broken barriers winning her first Grand Slam title at the French Open in the wheelchair doubles category. She then went on to win in the same category at the French Riviera Open. 

The public help choose the winners through free voting which kicks off in the gsport Voting Hall at [gsport.co.za/voting] on Tuesday, 22 August 2022.

Voting will close at midnight on Thursday, 31 August 2022.

2023 MOMENTUM GSPORT AWARDS NOMINEES: 

Momentum Athlete of the Year

Andile Dlamini

Lara van Niekerk

Laura Wolvaardt

Telkom Woman of the Year

Andile Dlamini

Ashleigh Buhai

Natasha Petersen

DP WORLD African Woman in Sport

Akhona Makalima

Faith Kipyegon

Tabitha Chawinga

Brand SA Para Sport Star of the Year

Charlene Pienaar

Kgothatso Montjane

Simoné Kruger

SuperSport School Sports Star of the Year

Alicia Khunou

Kaitlyn Ramduth

Karla Victor

SuperSport Woman in Television

Julia Stuart

Vusiwe Ngcobo

Xoli Zondo

Mail & Guardian Woman in Print

Lethabo Kganyago

Lynn Butler

Palesa DeeJay Manaleng

Momentum gsport Awards 2023 nominees revealed
Kgothatso Montjane

Global Woman in Sport

Hendrien Grove

Kgothatso Montjane

Leila Steyn-Daku

gsport Emerging Athlete of the Year

Kyra van Kan

Madison Landsman

Prudence Sekgodiso

Team of the Year

Banyana Banyana

Maties Women’s Rugby

Proteas Women

Coach of the Year

Desiree Ellis

Emily Mathosa

Eugene Da Ponte

Special Recognition

Brenda Mafunisa

Samantha Wright

Sarah Braude

African Champions Banyana Banyana have been knocked out of the FIFA Women’s World Cup following a 2-0 defeat by Netherlands on Sunday morning. South Africa had advanced to the last 16 round after finishing second in Group G, behind Sweden.

They faced a Dutch side that finished as runners-up in 2019 and are ninth in the FIFA World rankings.

ALSO READ: Banyana Banyana’s last 16 opponents revealed 

Jill Roord opened the scoring for the Europeans in the eighth minute to continue with her incredible World Cup form. The Netherlands went into the halftime break leading 1-0.

They also had considerable ball possession Thembi Kgatlana and Linda Motlhalo were impressive for South Africa. The Dutch carried on where they left off and dominated the second half. They thought they had their second in the 54th but Esmee Brugts was ruled offside.

Banyana Banyana knockout out of the Women's World Cup
Banyana Banyana knocked out by the Netherlands

AFRICA CHAMPIONS KNOCKED OUT OF THE WOMEN’S WORLD CUP

The Netherlands eventually doubled the lead in the 68th minute after a terrible blunder by Banyana goalkeeper Kaylin Swart. Lineth Beerensteyn’s effort looked controlled by Swart, but it went right through her hands and the Dutch took a
two-goal lead.

“Very proud of these players, they gave their all today,” said coach Desiree Ellis.

“They know that they were in the game. And that’s what we said. We were going to come here and put up a fight and put in a game. South Africa can be very proud of this team.”

Banyana Banyana stunned Italy on Wednesday to secure a historic spot in the FIFA Women’s World Cup last 16 round. They beat their European opponents 3-2 in a tightly contested clash at Wellington Regional Stadium.

It was also the first win for Banyana at a FIFA World Cup in two appearances.

ALSO READ: More bonuses for Banyana Banyana players

They also become the first South African senior national team to qualify for a knockout stage at a World Cup.

Italy took the lead after 11 minutes when Arianna Caruso scored from a penalty spot. This is after Chiara Beccari had been fouled by defender Karabo Dhlamini.

SUPERB PERFORMANCES TO SECURE A WOMEN’S WORLD CUP LAST 16 SPOT

Bnayana midfielder Robyn Moodaly came close when her swerving shot struck the post. 20 minutes later Banyana took the lead when Benedetta Orsi’s misplaced backpass skidded past her own goalkeeper Francesca Durante.

Banyana Banyana's last 16 Women's World Cup opponents revealed
Banyana Banyana players

Beccari almost restored Italy’s lead in the first half when her header came back off the post. But they fell behind midway through the second half when Thembi Kgatlana slipped a clever pass through to Hildah Magaia to finish beyond Durante.

Kgatlana was later denied by a flying save from Durante which proved crucial minutes later when Italy equalised after Caruso flicked out a leg to deflect substitute Cristiana Girelli’s header beyond Kaylin Swart.

Girelli was denied from close range by a superb save from Swart before South Africa regained the lead decisively in the second minute of added time when Kgatlana finished at the near post from Magaia’s.

They will now face the Netherlands in the knockout stage on Sunday, 6 August. 

By Khotso Ramalatswa

Banyana Banyana scored in either half of their FIFA Women’s World Cup Group G match but squandered the 2-0 lead to draw against Argentina at Dunedin Stadium on Friday.

South Africa started off on a positive note following a great combination from Hilda Mogaia and Thembi Kgatlana who came close to get an opener in the 13th minute of the first half however it wasn’t to be.

The match got physical as Banyana captain Refiloe Jane collided in the middle of the park and was injured in the 22nd minute of the game and was replaced by Kholosa Biyana.

LINDA MOTLHALO PUTS BANYANA BANYANA AHEAD

Banyana Banyana were playing on counterattacks and were eventually rewarded after a great run from Thembi Kgatlana who released a great pass for Linda Motlhalo who slotted in, in the 30th minute to put Banyana ahead. However, the goal was adjudged offside and thanks to VAR showing indeed that the goal was clear.

Banyana Banyana throw a two-goal lead to draw against Argentina
Thembi Kgatlana

Banyana Banyana thought they had a second goal through Thembi Kgatlana however the goal was ruled offside and went to half-time with a slender lead.

The second half started on a brighter side for Banyana after Jermain Seoposenwe put in a great cross in the 46th minute of the second half for Thembi Kgatlana to convert the opportunity however she missed the target.’

Thembi Kgatlana redeemed herself in the 66th minute of the game to extend Banyana lead and make it 2-0.

ARGENTINA DIG DEEP TO SECURE A DRAW

Argentina made a couple of changes after conceding a second goal. They were eventually rewarded after Banyana failed to clear the ball away from the box and fell on Sophia Braun who sent a rocket at the top of the corner to pull one back in the 73rd minute of the game.

Nunez finds an equalizer five minutes later after yet again a blunder at the back with a great header 2-2 it was.

“We had the game in our pocket but we gave away two easy goals,” said Thembi Kgatlana.

“That’s something we’ll need to improve going into our next match. We need to keep 100 percent focus, whether we are leading or not, and show a very good mentality until the referee blows the final whistle. Today, we made life difficult for ourselves.”

Their next match is against Italy next week, a match they must win if they harbor any chance of qualifying into the last 16.

By Sebastian Meso