Breaking: Banyana Banyana refusing to play at Tsakane Stadium

Breaking: Banyana Banyana refusing to play at Tsakane Stadium

Banyana Banyana are understood to have taken a decision to boycott playing at the Tsakane Stadium against Botswana tomorrow.

There had been an undertone throughout the week that the send-off friendly match before the national women’s side jets off to New Zealand ahead of the FIFA World Cup was below par. 

SABC Sport now has it on good authority that the squad, led by coach Desire Ellis, are adamant that not only is the type of opposition sub-standard, but the pitch at the East Rand venue is also not of international standards. 

Banyana have qualified for a second successive World Cup having made their debut in France four years ago and are now in the same group as high-profile opposition Sweden, Italy and Argentina. 

In comparison to the Stadiums for their matches at the tournament later this month and the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations last year, the Tsakane Stadium is far from meeting that high benchmark.

Ellis was earlier in the week asked about the decision behind SAFA choosing neighbours Botswana, a side Banyana have never lost to in at least 10 previous meetings, as the farewell game. 

She defended the decision, although that might have been the coach’s way of being diplomatic when speaking to the public broadcaster on Wednesday. 

“We tried getting an opponent to come here, unfortunately, we could not. A lot of countries are having send-off matches and those are outside the FIFA window, they say they don’t have their best players,” explained Ellis. 

“But we also know the resistance that Botswana can bring and can show and hopefully we can get enough out of this game.” 

In a separate interview with SABC Sport, striker Jermaine Seoposenwe was crystal clear Banyana have not had adequate preparation for the World Cup with the opening game against Sweden on 23 July. 

“The association might feel they’ve done enough, but I have a different opinion. But at the end of the day, I am a player and my job is to come here, play and then leave,” she said in part, highlighting fixtures against Brazil, Australia and Serbia as perhaps the only games good enough in their build-up.   

Initially, SAFA were not available for comment due to an ongoing meeting with the Banyana squad. But spokesperson Mninawa Ntloko responded later, saying “as far as the association is concerned, the match in Tsakane tomorrow is going ahead.”