SAFA president Danny Jordaan has heaped praise on a Banyana Banyana team that he described as in transition after they defended the Cosafa Women’s Cup.
South Africa held off Zambia to win the Cosafa Cup final in Port Elizabeth 1-0, maintaining their excellent record in the competition. The SA women’s team have won six of the seven Cosafa Women’s Championships held, with Zimbabwe’s 2011 win the only anomaly.
Jordaan felt that Banyana’s opponents this year arrived better prepared than in previous editions and the result was a tougher test, although it didn’t start that way.
Banyana kicked off the tournament with a rollicking 17-0 win over Comoros. Things got tougher against Malawi, where Banyana needed found themselves at 1-1 halfway through but the saw themselves through despite losing skipper Janine van Wyk to injury. Banyana blew past Madagascar to clinch top spot in the group and book a semi-final against Zimbabwe. A 3-1 win in the semi-final confirmed Banyana’ place in their Seventh Cosafa Women’s Championship final.
“This tournament was different,” said Jordaan. “The teams that came here this year showed a better quality of football.
“Overall, I think it was a much harder test for Banyana.”
SAFA were expected to announce a new professional Women’s League on Women’s Day last week but none came and there is still no word on when the League will come to pass.
Banyana will soon begin the process of attempting to qualify for the Olympics for the third time in a row. The team debuted at the 2012 London Games before making their second appearance in Rio, on both occasions they failed to progress from the group stage.
Banyana Banyana building for the future
Jordaan believes the performance of the young emerging talent in coach Desiree Ellis’ squad augurs well for the future.
“Banyana is a team in transition, with a lot of young players now coming in,” said the Safa president.
“The young players performed well and showed they are ready to take the step up and perform for Banyana.
“We’re now looking at the Olympic qualifiers for Tokyo 2020, and the Women’s Afcon qualifiers. The future of the team looks bright.
“The quality of the football they produced made many sit up and take notice. We have one of the best teams on the continent.”
Banyana Banyana travel to Gaborone to face Botswana the first leg of their Olympic qualifier on 26 August. Caf has only been given 1.5 places at the Tokyo Olympics. The winner of the qualifying tournament will qualify directly, while the runner-up enter a play-off against the second-placed team from South American confederation CONMEBOL.
The South African