The learners at the Commtech Comprehensive School in Bloemfontein’s Phelindaba Township gave the Sasol Banyana Banyana national team a hero’s welcome on Friday, 08 June.
The team paid a visit to the school, which is well-known for its female soccer development in the region and the occasion also marked the team’s first time in Bloemfontein.
The team was set to play in the African Women’s Cup of Nations qualifier match against Lesotho on Sunday at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium and was in town to practise ahead of the match.
However, on Friday, the team spent the morning with the Phelindaba School and Banyana Banyana Coach, Desiree Ellis, said the occasion was nothing short of an honour for her and the team. “We received such a warm reception and it was unexpected because as far as we know, this is a school that is not used to seeing a national team. Being here reminded us of who we are playing for and the privilege that we have as members of this team,” Ellis said.
Meanwhile, Banyana Banyana defender, Bambanani Mbane, said the support they received from the school as well as the choral singing was overwhelming and boosted the team’s morale in an unexpected manner. Mbane said the spirit of the learners rejuvenated the players and gave them a new found confidence that they would perform better than they had expected to on Sunday.
Banyanya Banyanya played against Lesotho on Sunday and thrashed the neighboring team 6-0 in the second leg of their qualifier on Sunday afternoon.
The South African team had a minor advantage coming on Sunday, as they had won the first leg 1-0 on Wednesday.
According to the South African Football Association’s (SAFA) calendar, Banyana Banyana will play two FIFA international friendly games on 6 and 9 October respectively before heading to Ghana in November.