President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, has wished the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana well as they face Nigeria in the final of the 2018 Women’s AFCON this afternoon (Saturday, 1 December 2018) at the Accra Stadium in Ghana.
Kickoff is at 16h00 local time (18h00 SA time).
Speaking to the squad last night on a live video call from the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he is leading a South African delegation, South Africa’s Number One Citizen said he was proud of what Banyana Banyana had done. He congratulated the team on qualifying for their maiden FIFA Women’s World Cup, and also wished them well for the final.
“Well done you have made us proud. As the Cabinet, as the Government of South Africa, we thank you and applaud you for the good work you have done. We have no doubt that you will succeed. We have seen the way you go about your business, the way you perform your duties and we are very impressed,” said President Ramaphosa.
“The other day in the Assembly we started our gathering with a standing ovation to you because you really deserve it. Remember that everyone in South Africa, all 57 million, is behind you and we applaud you. Halala to all of you as Superwomen of our country.”
Present during the video address to the team was the South African Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Lulu Xingwana as well the President of the South African Football Association (SAFA) Dr Danny Jordaan.
President Ramaphosa also reserved special praise for Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis for being the first person to qualify Banyana Banyana to a World Cup.
“To you Desiree, you have done extremely well, and we are proud of you for leading a very good team. The determination of your team has taken them far, and will take them even further. Do not be afraid, go get them and all the best,” added President Ramaphosa.
Ellis said afterwards that she was impressed by the wonderful gesture from the President of the country.
“I must admit it was a pleasant surprise to get a call from the President of the country. We have always known that we have the support of millions of South Africans, but to get a direct message from the highest office in our country makes it extra special. We really appreciate that the President took time off his busy schedule just to wish us. It’s moments like these that make us feel good to be South African. It is such deeds that say all the hard work put in make it worthwhile. The call was really motivating and we will do the best we can to get our hands on that trophy,” said Ellis.
Also sending a letter of well wishes to the squad was Ms Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister in the Presidency for the National Planning Commission for Policy and Evaluation.
Banyana Banyana return home on Sunday, 2 December 2018 and are expected to land at the OR Tambo International airport at 17h30.