South Africa: Safa President Visits Banyana Banyana to Wish Them Well

President of the South African Football Association (SAFA) Dr Danny Jordaan visited Banyana Banyana at their base hotel in Port Elizabeth to wish them luck in their semifinal clash against Zimbabwe in the 2019 COSAFA Women's Championship.

The two nations clash this afternoon (Thursday, 8 August 2019) at Wolfson Stadium.

Kickoff is at 15h30.

Dr Jordaan was accompanied by Mzimkhulu Fina - President of the SAFA Provincial structure in the Eastern Cape, and also Head of Delegation for the U20 Women's National Team, that is also playing in the tournament.

Here is a shortened version of the speech Dr Jordaan delivered to the Banyana Banyana players.

You played very well. You have done very well so far - specially the players that were not in the World Cup squad - we don't want to single them out but you have all done well.

The quality of the teams in this year's tournament has improved. Zimbabwe has a good team, and it is good for you because FIFA has increased the number of teams at the FIFA Women's World Cup from 24 to 32 - which means there are eight additional teams.

From the CAF perspective, we are now going to argue that they must give Africa five spots from the 32 places.

Like every journey, every stop along the way is important, but you must not forget the destination and you can't put reverse gears when you want to move forward. So you can't have setbacks - every match is important and should be a step forward. There are many good teams and it is not going to be easy. So our plan is that you must qualify for the Olympics (Tokyo 2020), for Women's AFCON (2021) and the World Cup (2023). So this is a preliminary test for the big test coming your way and we want you to become one of the five to represent Africa at the World Cup.

We made a bid to host the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, but there are many countries also bidding tao host - Brazil is making a bid, Argentina is in there, Bolivia, Australia, New Zealand as well as Korea/Japan.

And in the bidding process, the continent that hosted the last edition cannot be considered - you cannot have consecutive World Cup tournaments on the same continent, therefore because France hosted the 2019 edition, Europe is out, but all the other continents are in.

We will be meeting the Sports Minister soon to talk about the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, but you must qualify - you don't need to host to qualify, you are good enough to do it on your own.

Women's football has changed all over the world. FIFA is still thinking about creating a world league for women. In other words, taking all the national teams around the world - the best ones - into a 16-team world league. At the moment only two countries from Africa will play there, where you will fly all over the world on league basis to play the other countries, and when you get there, it is a different level for all of you. After the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France, the prospects for women's football have exploded.

That is the big picture!

But the immediate task is a big challenge against Zimbabwe, where you get to test yourself and tell yourself that if I want to beat Brazil, United States and all those other abroad, we have beat Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe is going to give you a run for your money, but you will need a big heart - not just the ball skills - you will need the will to win and a fighting spirit.

You are very popular at Wolfson stadium - people love you there. You saw for yourselves the last time you were here, they support you very much.

Remember that every game is a new game, every challenge is a new challenge. When you climb a mountain, you go up the hill, and when you have reached the top of the hill, you know there is another hill until you get to the top. You must climb all of them until you reach the mountaintop and that will make you champions that you are.

Get better captain (Janine van Wyk), but don't rush back into action - don't return too early, keep 2023 in mind.

The oldest player to feature in a World Cup was Roger Milla of Cameroon, the next was Lothar Matthaus who captained Germany - he was 38 years old.

On the women's side we saw Formiga of Brazil in France - she was 41.

So if you are good enough, you must be in the team.

If you are good enough, the question of young enough does not come into play - age doesn't count.

You saw Mbappe of France, he was 20 when he won the World Cup in Russia.

Roger Milla became a hero worldwide.

It is also a question of players taking care of their own bodies. When you are young and you mess up your body, you body will never complain. But as you grow older, you body will take revenge on you and you will have a miserable life.

International athletes and performers must understand that you have to take care of your body and take good care of yourself. No one needs to teach you that.

If you do that, your body will allow you to perform beyond your own imagination.

The other part you must also concentrate on is education. It is good knowing that most of our Banyana Banyana players are taking their education very seriously.

It is very pleasing to us.

Let me tell you something - an illiterate has never won anything in the world of sport.

The 1995 Rugby World Cup winning team of the Springboks had 90 percent graduates. Spain won the World Cup in South Africa in 2010, and all of them were graduates.

So don't underestimate the importance and power of education.

Education helps you to cope, to process and understand. If you are illiterate and didn't finish school, it is very difficult to do so. So this is a very key point - education, education, education - it is something that will help you a great deal also in life.

And that is something that we always tell the Bafana Bafana players. It is also your self-worth, your self-belief, self-confidence, and your ability to not feel inferior to anybody. All of these add up to your performance.

Players may have the skill, but all the problems could be in the head - now fill that head with education and drive out all the other wrongs in your head, like feeling inferior, feeling sorry for yourself - you drive them out with education.

I am just happy just to see the team and wish everyone well.

I want to wish you all the best against Zimbabwe - captain, coach, technical team and the support staff - all of you.

Good luck.

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