Patrice Motsepe Steps In to Resolve Banyana Banyana Crisis
South African Football Association’s (SAFA) Banyana Banyana team has received a last-minute lifeline from Patrice Motsepe, bringing an end to their crisis.
The intervention ensures that the team will depart on time for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.
While specific details of Motsepe’s involvement are yet to be disclosed, it is believed that his assistance will primarily be financial in nature.
Motsepe, who serves as the President of the Confederation of African Football and owns Mamelodi Sundowns as well as being a mining magnate, participated in a crisis meeting with SAFA and the Banyana players to reach a resolution.
This meeting aims to address various contractual issues that have caused dissatisfaction within the team, including concerns about the quality of their preparation opponents for the World Cup.
The recent saga unfolded when Banyana Banyana was unable to play their scheduled World Cup send-off match against Botswana at Tsakane Stadium in Ekurhuleni.
Instead, a hastily arranged makeshift team suffered a 5-0 defeat. Representatives from the South African Football Players Union (SAFPU) publicly alleged that while Banyana initially threatened to boycott the game due to their grievances not being adequately addressed, they were ready to play but were instructed not to by SAFA.
One bone of contention for the national team players was the choice of Botswana, ranked 150th, as a preparation opponent, considering that Banyana will face much stronger teams like Sweden (ranked 3rd), Italy (ranked 16th), and Argentina (ranked 28th) in Group G at the World Cup. Additionally, the rustic conditions of Tsakane Stadium also raised concerns.
SAFPU, claiming to represent Banyana, although disputed by SAFA, has stated that the players also seek to include a clause in their contracts with SAFA ensuring that each player receives R565,000 in appearance money from FIFA for the World Cup group stage.