The South African national women’s football team, or Banyana Banyana if you’re a local, recently won their fourth COSAFA Cup in a row and seventh overall, beating Botswana 2-1 in the final. This led to cries for equal pay for the men’s and women’s teams, as they do represent the country at the same level. Brazil, England, Norway, New Zealand and Australia all pay their men’s and women’s teams the same salaries, match fees and bonuses. Now South Africa is looking to add to that list.
The South African Football Association (SAFA) has confirmed that they are in the process of bridging the pay gap and that it is “a work in progress” as they hope to ensure that all players are equally compensated for their services in representing the nation. The process is believed to have been sped up after calls from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) were echoed by the public.
In an open letter to the public, the EFF congratulated Banyana Banyana on their victory and called for Bafana Bafana to emulate their sisters’ triumph on the continent, whilst reminding SAFA to do right by the women’s team. “EFF sends its congratulations to Banyana Banyana,” the letter started, “their victory marks the fourth consecutive clinching of the title (COSAFA), extending an incredible streak in the tournament.
“This victory should signal the need to expedite equal pay and sponsorship of all national teams regardless of gender.”
SAFA spokesperson, Dominic Chimhavi, responded to this letter, stating, “This is an issue we are mindful of and the SAFA NEC has always said that they are looking into possibilities of making sure that whatever is done for the senior male national teams, should also be applied to the senior female national teams.” He went on to assure the public that, “Banyana players are always paid,” and “they will get their fees. For every national team, we have standing arrangements and those arrangements are effected after every tournament.”
The Banyana players now have to wait to hear the outcome of their fight for equality, and remain optimistic with the support of their brothers in Bafana Bafana, the South African public and the EFF.