SAFA bemoans lack of Banyana corporate supportThomas Kwenaite
The national football federation is disappointed that despite all the hype generated by Banyana Banyana’s qualification for the FIFA World Cup finals in France, corporate South Africa has not reacted with the same amount of enthusiasm.
Myway insurance’s Renee Otto was the first one to call the radio station last week, saying his company was pledging R100 000 to Banyana Banyana. Other companies such as Debonairs Pizza also made their pledges.
However, SAFA Acting CEO Russell Paul said they were not going to accept the money. He said corporate South African was not willing to put money where its mouth was but was happy to suddenly jump onto the bandwagon and celebrate Banyana’s good results with once off pledges.
“We are not going to accept it,” said Paul. “We deeply appreciate and admire individuals who want to do that (donate) but corporate South Africa…no. I don’t think it’s fair to the ladies,” he added.
Paul said the ultimate goal was to establish a Premier League for women in the country to elevate the game to a different level, but corporate South Africa has been slow to respond to their plea to assist in the development of the game.
“I’m talking about sustainability and putting together a partnership. It’s our intention to start the national league next year and up until today no corporate has come forward to us and say ‘hey guys we would like to do it.’
“We pitched to countless companies. We did all we needed to and we will continue to seek sponsorship but at the very worst we will continue running that national Women League with our funds once again,” he said.
Paul said they needed a corporate that will put R10-m or R20-m on the table and then say, ‘here is the money, how do we go forward in establishing a professional set-up and help develop the women game in the country.
Meanwhile, Banyana Banyana has clinched an international friendly game against the powerful United States of America to be played in California, followed by yet another high profile friendly against powerhouses Sweden in Cape Town.
Banyana would also feature in the annual Cyprus Cup and they would be working flat-out after Saturday’s draw to secure an additional friendly game against Asian opposition.
“We have already played South American opponents Chile,” said Paul. “We have secured the Americans and Europeans (Sweden) and by the time the girls feature in the finals, they shall have played against opponents from across the world.”
The draw will be conducted at a very romantic island in France on Saturday.