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

Desiree Ellis and her Banyana Banyana team officially commenced their FIFA Women’s World Cup preparations after the second group landed in New Zealand on Saturday.

The team travelled in two separate groups due to insufficient business class seats on the first flight from South Africa.

ALSO READ: More bonuses for Banyana Banyana players

The first group left South Africa on Wednesday evening, 5 July. The second group left the country on Thursday, 6 July.

The Women’s Africa Cup of Nations champions quickly got into the business of things in Wellington. They began with a gym sessions to help with recovery from the jet lag.

Banyana Banyana's second group landed in New Zealand to complete the squad for the Women's World Cup
Banyana players at the Airport

The team will have an official training session on Sunday, 8 July 2023. The focus shifts to their final friendly match against Costa Rica at the Nga Puna Wai Sports Complex in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 15 July.

SOUTH AFRICA IN WOMEN’S WORLD CUP GROUP G

Banyana Banyana will be making their second appearance at the World Cup. They kick off their FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign against Sweden on 23 July.

There has been a change in the standby list with youngster Nthabiseng Majiya released from the camp due to an injury. Siphumelele Shamase of UJ FC was called up as a replacement. The standby list players have also travelled to New Zealand).

By Khotso Ramalatswa

Banyana Banyana players will each receive R 230 000 in bonuses on top of the R560 000 FIFA Women’s World Cup participation fee for each player.

This comes after an intervention by the Motsepe Foundation which pledged a R 6 million contribution. The World Cup-bound players caused a standstill on Sunday when they boycotted their send-off match against Botswana scheduled for Tsakane Stadium.

This forced SAFA to quickly set up a makeshift team to honour the fixture and avoid more embarrassment.

ALSO READ: Banyana Banyana players boycott send-off match

Part of the issues was around contracts and finances related to their World Cup participation. The players wanted SAFA to contribute more money on top of what theft received from FIFA.

Following interventions, the players could now each receive an additional R230 000. This could also rise to over R5 million should they go all the way in Australia and New Zealand.

More bonuses for Banyana Banyana players
SAFA, Motsepe Foundation and the Sports Minister

The negotiations between SAFA, SAFPU [representing the players], and the mediation of the Department of Sports, Arts, and Culture took place on Tuesday. It lasted close to 12 hours, from 11:00 until after 22:00.

Participating member associations at the World Cup will be getting about R30 million each. This also includes a preparation fee to the tune of over R 20 million.

NO TRAINING DUE TO BONUSES ISSUE

Banyana Banyana have not trained since Saturday due to the dispute. The team will depart in two groups from OR Tambo International Airport on Wednesday and Thursday. They will be flying business class to their base in New Zealand via Australia.

They are pitted in Group G alongside 16th-ranked Italy, 28th-ranked Argentina, and third-ranked Sweden, whom they face in their tournament opener on 23 July at 07:00 [SA time].

The FIFA Council has finalised the bidding requirements for the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup which SAFA have announced intentions to host. 

South Africa announced its intention and submitted letters of support from the Government and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) a few months ago.

SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan says South Africa is the only nation in Africa bidding to host the global event.  Dr Jordaan is in Kigali, Rwanda, for the FIFA Congress. 

“I think that having seen the requirements. We know that most of those requirements have already been met or exceeded,” he said. 

Also read: Akhona Makalima to represent South Africa in FIFA Women’s World Cup next year 

“We have the stadiums, the training venues and the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) among others. We have the IBC there at Nasrec, in the south of Johannesburg. 

“All these things were tested in 2010 when we hosted the men’s FIFA World Cup. So the infrastructure is done. This means 70 percent of the evaluation is already in place,” he added. 

“The fact that we are the only African country that is bidding to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2027. The fact that we have infrastructure in place are the two positives that will strengthen our chances.”

 Dr Danny Jordaan at the FIFA congress in Kigali
Dr Danny Jordaan at the FIFA congress in Kigali

Also read: SAFA president meets FIFA boss Infantino 

The  bidding requirements place heavy emphasis on two categories:

1) Infrastructure (70% of the score, which focus on stadiums, team and referees facilities,  accommodation, the IBC and competition-related events

2) Commercial (covers the remaining 30% and those are the revenue streams, with broadcasting being the most important, and the cost of organising the event.

Dr Jordaan has travelled to different locations around the globe in the last few months and lobbied for support. South Africa attempts to join the United States of America, Germany and France as the only countries to have hosted both the men’s and the women’s FIFA World Cup.

SAFA clearly has a successful track record and delivered “the Best World Cup Ever in 2010”. It was Africa’s first and only World Cup to date.

The SAFA  NEC will discuss the next steps, which will include an engagement with the new Minister of Sport, Honourable Zizi  Kodwa.

PSL referee Akhona Makalima is among the 12 African match officials appointed for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand. The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will run from 20 July to 20 August. 

This will be the first FIFA Women’s World Cup assignment for the Eastern Cape-born Makalima. Something that will further decorate her already prestigious resume.

FIFA will be hosting their first Match Officials seminar in Qatar from 30 January -2 February 2023.

WORLD CUP OPPORTUNITY DELIGHTS AKHONA MAKALIMA 

Makalima also said the upcoming World Cup appointment was one of the greatest achievements in her rising career. She said she was looking forward to the tournament and making the country proud.

‘’It is always satisfying when you put in all the hard work and you see it paying off,” she said. 

Akhona Makalima during league match
Akhona Makalima during league match

“SAFA and most officials have been putting in a lot of hard work to improve the officiating in the country. The number of officials appointed for FIFA and CAF tournaments is testament to the officials’ hard work,’’ added Makalima.

‘’My heart is filled with huge excitement and gratitude. This is what we all strive for as match officials – officiating at the biggest stage and I really want to thank all those involved in this project for a job well done.

‘’I am really overwhelmed with emotions, words cannot express my excitement.”

MORE WOMEN TO REPRESENT AFRICA 

At the seminar in Doha, Qatar, Makalima will represent the continent together with Vincentia Amedome of Togo, Bouchra Karboubi from Morocco and Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda, who officiated at the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup in Qatar. All in Qatar will be Diana Chikotesha of Zambia, West Africans Carine Atezambong and Fanta Kone from Cameroon and Mali respectively, Moroccan duo Soukaina Hamdi and Fatiha Jermoumi, Mary Njoroge of Kenya and Queency Victoire from Mauritania will be assistant referees while Adil Zourak also from Mauritania  will serve as a Video Match Official.