Nike hosted the #BANYANAINNUMBERS recently, to celebrate the athletes who are changing the face of female football. The premise of the event was to make a call to South Africans to show their support and to illustrate the power of a collective voice.
The #BANYANAINNUMBERS celebration was brought to life through the world of football and entertainment. The event saw 22 teams participate in a small-sided game, captained by legends of the game such as Portia Modise, hip-hop artists, Cassper Nyovest, Riky Rick and Shomadjozi. The artists also took to the stage with electrifying performances to celebrate their passion for football.
Banyana Banyana’s qualification for the tournament has captured hearts of the nation and has cast a light on women’s football on the continent. As women’s football continues to grow in popularity globally, Africa is beginning to carve out its niche with local players such as Linda Motlhalo going abroad to ply their skills. It is undeniable that qualifying for the World Cup tournament is a pivotal moment for South Africa and can only inspire other young girls and boys onto the football field.
Janine van Wyk will captain the South African Senior Women’s National team and will lead Banyana Banyana at the tournament in France, along with vice-captain Refiloe Jane.
“It’s exciting to share such a moment with our country, knowing that we have this kind of support is all the encouragement we need to push our hardest at the tournament,” says van Wyk.
The team has had a productive year with some of the players making big moves internationally. In addition, team coach, Desiree Ellis, won the CAF Women’s Coach of the Year award, where she was recognised for the major role she has played in building the squad.
“I’m proud of how far these players have come, they’ve worked really hard,” says Ellis. “As we get into this world class event we remain focused and we hope to make South Africa proud. The tournament is really where you want your team to be and I’m sure they will do their best.”