Banyana Banyana departed for the United States of America on Sunday night (17 September ) ahead of their two international friendly matches against the former FIFA Women’s World Cup champions this month.
Coach Desiree Ellis’ charges assembled for camp in Johannesburg on Saturday evening (16 September) in preparation for the trip and they will face the US women’s national soccer team in matches to be played on September 21 in Cincinnati, and on September 24 in Chicago.
The two sides are coming from participating in the recent 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and the matches will be the first since both sides were knocked out in the Round of 16 of the global tournament.
Ellis will use these games to also run the rule over her Sasol-sponsored squad ahead of a busy schedule that includes qualifiers for the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations and the Olympic Games.
The South African senior women’s team spent Sunday morning with new sponsors Shield in a breakfast engagement that was attended by SAFA CEO Lydia Monyepao and a contingent from SAFA House, and Shield representatives Tamryn Taylor (Southern Africa Deodorant Marketing Director), Sithembile Ngobese (Head of Corporate Affairs Southern Africa), Gareth Marshall (Sponsorship & Partnerships Lead) and Boitumelo Motsilanyane (Shield Brand Lead).
Monyepao extended her gratitude to Shield for raising their hands and coming on board as sponsors.
“I would like to welcome and acknowledge our new sponsor, (brand new from the box) Shield, we want to welcome you to Banyana Banyana. These ladies have been tough on us to say we need to get more sponsors for the team, and we have been searching everywhere (looking under the table) and knocking on closed doors. But thank you Shield for raising your hand and coming on board,” she said.
“The aim of this breakfast is to catch up as far as the sponsorship is concerned. It is because of sponsorships that the team is able to have such quality international friendlies. Without funding and sponsors, it becomes difficult for preparations to happen. To the Banyana Banyana players and staff, welcome back to camp. I know that it has not been long since you returned from the FIFA Women’s World Cup and I want to wish you all the best for your trip to the US. I hope you can continue from where you left off against the Netherlands. You made us all proud and everyone is excited about what this team is doing on the international stage,” she added.
Marshall expressed his excitement at the partnership with Banyana Banyana and he revealed how they have been wanting to get involved with the team. “It’s an honour to be here. We had been talking about Banyana Banyana for a while and we have been wanting to get this partnership over the line,” he said.
“Thank you for flying the South Africa flag so high, it really is an honour to be here. I look forward to this partnership and we really get to inspire the next generation. We have got some stories to tell and we look forward doing it with you.”
Ellis’ charges flew out on Sunday night via Atlanta and will land on Monday in the US. Banyana Banyana will have a squad of 21 players in the USA, with a few changes to the team that was originally announced by Ellis a few days ago. Hildah Magaia has been withdrawn for medical reasons, while Sibulele Holweni suffered an injury and will not make the trip.
Noko Matlou will also not make the trip due to Visa challenges and she has been being replaced by Faith Nokuthula. Both games will be broadcast Live on the SABC and the details are as follows: