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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Dispute over financial compensation continues to intensify between Banyana Banyana and SAFA

The South African Football Association (SAFA) and the South Africa women’s national team continue to dispute important issues relating to financial compensation ahead of Banyana Banyana’s participation at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup hosted by Australia and New Zealand. The dispute gained publicity on Sunday when SAFA was forced to scramble a team together for a friendly match against Botswana which ended with an embarrassing 5-0 defeat for South Africa in what was supposed to be a farewell in front of Banyana Banyana supporters.
Banyana Banyana are due to receive financial compensation that would amount to at least about $26,750 for each player, payments that would be given from FIFA to SAFA to distribute to the members of the team. However the team believe they are due additional compensation from SAFA and wish for the payments from FIFA to be included in new contracts indicating a general distrust of the South African footballing body. For their part SAFA have resisted and believe that their investment in development and facilities for the players is sufficient enough.
Former Banyana Banyana captain Portia Modise weighed in on the issue and sided with the players. The all-time leading scorer for the women’s national team stated to BBC World Service that the issue of payment is a long standing problem that left players like her struggling to make financial ends meet:
“It’s about time the girls stood together to fix whatever is happening right now in terms of their contracts and their payments…We have been experiencing this for so many years. I’m the only one who has been vocal about this issue. We’ve been in this journey – it’s been long now – (including) my playing days I could say it’s been 25 years trying to solve this issue…they don’t want to do the right things for women’s football.”
Modise went on to criticize Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis who was on the sidelines for Sunday’s friendly defeat, a match that saw South Africa feature a 13-year-old player following SAFA’s efforts to scrap together a makeshift side. “I felt she needed to stand firm as a leader of the team…The coach made a poor decision to sit in that bench. She needed to be loyal to the players…”
The tension continues to build ahead of the team’s World Cup campaign which begins on July 23 against Sweden in Wellington, New Zealand. Banyana Banyana also have a final preparation friendly match scheduled for July 15 against fellow World Cup participants Costa Rica.