Banyana Banyana’s reign of success has not only seen them book a place at the London Olympics in July this year, but also win the hearts and minds of football fans across the Rainbow Nation and the continent.
The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana, who will join Cameroon as the African representatives at the Olympic Games, can certainly hold their heads high in being South Africa’s No 1 national sports team of 2011 with 13 wins and a draw from 17 matches.
Four years ago, prior to the arrival of Sasol as a stakeholder in women’s football, few in South Africa’s renowned sports-loving republic paid much attention to Banyana Banyana, who were then averaging around three home matches per annum.
Last year, the South African Senior Women’s National Team played host to Zambia, Tunisia and Ethiopia (Olympic Qualifiers), Botswana (All-Africa Games Qualifier), Namibia and Mozambique (international friendly matches), with large crowd attendances signifying the saying of ‘people support a winning team’.
Away from the Banyana Banyana training pitch and match schedule, football continues to run in the veins of the players. Apart from representing their respective clubs on weekends in the Sasol League which is played in all nine provinces, players are moving towards assisting the Beautiful Game in previously disadvantaged areas.
Banyana Banyana captain Amanda Dlamini recently conducted a coaching clinic near Harding, south of Durban, while fellow striker Sanah Mollo is scheduling a football tournament in Bloemfontein. “The Sasol sponsorship of the Senior Women’s National Team and the Sasol League is aimed at empowering women through football. We believe that Sasol has played a major role in improving the playing standard of Banyana Banyana by providing increased local and international camps and matches as well as building the Banyana Banyana brand profile in general – a brand that is now synonymous with winning,” said Sasol Sponsorship Specialist – Football, Dumisani Mbokane.
The 2012 build up to the Olympics will see the South Africans take on top Brazilian clubs in Rio de Janeiro this month, before competing in the 12-nation Cyprus Women’s Cup from 28 February to 6 March.