The South African Football Association (Safa) says it has been working hard to find sponsors for the France-bound senior women’s national team, Banyana Banyana.
Safa president Danny Jordaan says for the past 110 years, they have been trying unsuccessfully to get more sponsors that could help the Sasol-sponsored team.
There has been a public outcry that Banyana Banyana players deserve to be paid more after their success at the recent African Women’s Championship in Ghana. They finished as runners up in the tournament, but crucially qualified for next year’s FIFA World Cup in France.
Speaking at Safa House in Johannesburg, Jordaan says disparities in pay between Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana players are a result of unequal sponsorship of the two teams by the corporate world.
Jordaan is grateful for the loyal support of Sasol, but says more companies should come on board.
“The real issue is that for 10 years, we had one sponsor for Banyana, and that is Sasol. We must recognise and thank Sasol for maintaining women football. They also sponsored the women league. There’s not even a single other South African company that came up to sponsor women football and that the issue.”
Jordaan says the problem of sponsorship is not only in football. “It’s not just in our country and it’s not just football. Go to other codes when you go to cricket, netball, hockey, rugby, it’s the same problem. We have to find more money into women football. Our U-17 team went to play in a World cup in Uruguay without a sponsor, we funded them. Our U-20 team, we funded them.”
The pay disparity between the women’s and men’s salaries is down to sponsorship. Banyana’s qualification for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup has brought much-needed interest in supporting the team and helping in uplifting and maintaining women’s football in the country. And Jordaan is optimistic.
“Now we have renewed commercial interest and we have engagement with many companies who want to come on board and support women football. And of course we are delighted and we will make sure there is better dispensation for women.”