Things are just going from strength to strength for Banyana Banyana. They have already made it to their first ever Women’s World Cup in France in June and now they will also be playing two friendlies in the Mother City in honour of two icons, Mama Winnie Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu.

Banyana’s match against the Netherlands at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday will be called the Winnie Mandela Challenge. Their other international friendly against Sweden at the same venue next Tuesday will be called the Albertina Sisulu Challenge.

President of SAFA Danny Jordaan says that the challenges are to honour the Mandela and the Sisulu families.

“We are here also to honour two other outstanding families in the history of SA and that is the Mandela family and the Sisulu family and specifically, Winnie Mandela and Albertina Sisulu. These are giants in our history. This will be expressed one against Sweden when Banyana plays against Sweden in the Albertina Sisulu challenge match and the Netherlands will play against Banyana in the Winnie Mandela challenge match both in Cape Town.”

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu says both the Netherlands and Sweden played an instrumental role in providing support to South Africa during the struggle.

“Both the Netherlands and Sweden were very instrumental in supporting us during the struggle. So, both Mama Winnie and Mama Albertina would be very proud to have games with those countries who supported us to get the democracy we now enjoy.”

Banyana are riding the crest of the wave as a team, with their coach and players getting accolades throughout Africa which will hopefully help inspire millions of girls to take up the game and firmly put South Africa on the footballing map.

Jordaan says that both games will help Banyana prepare for the Women’s World Cup.

“They find Banyana at a time in their history where they are preparing for the World Cup in France; at a time when the Coach Desiree Ellis has been voted the best coach on the African continent, woman coach; when our player was voted the best player on the African continent, scored the best goal on the African continent. But also to make the memory, the history and the legacy of these two icons. These two women are always edged in the memory of all South Africans.”

Zondwa Mandela of the Mandela Legacy says that they hope these challenges will create awareness and support for Banyana.

“We really hope the combination the stalwarts, the icons Mama Winnie Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu and our involvement as a family to lend ourselves to creating awareness; a sense of support that people can come and join to support this fantastic team that we have that women are at the helm of.”

Although in their off season, the friendlies will be wonderful preparation for Desiree Ellis and her squad before the World Cup that starts on the seventh of June in France.

“They are iconic women in our country. They fought for what we have now, the freedom to play; the freedom to participate; the freedom to be able to play the best teams in the world. To be playing the two matches, in honour of them, is just amazing.”

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