Former Banyana Banyana coach Fran Hilton-Smith says Banyana Banyana’s sterling performance at the FIFA World Cup bodes well for the future of South African Football.
Banyana Banyana exceeded expectations to reach the second round of the global showpiece after they won one match, drawn once and lost once.
The African champions narrowly lost to third ranked Sweden 2-1, drew with Argentina 2-all and then beat Italy 3-2 in the last group match. They then lost 2-nil ton the 2019 World Cup finalists Netherlands in the last 16 round match.
“I think people hoped they would get through the group stage and they did and, on another day, we could have won all those games. Netherlands beat us 5-nil last year, we narrowly lost had we converted the chances we would be in the next round, all the big teams went out but Banyana was really standing tall and it bodes well for the future.”
Smith was once part of FIFA as mentors in their Female Leadership Programme. She advocated for the increase in the number of African teams in the World Cup and she excited to see three teams; South Africa, Morocco and Nigeria reaching the knockout stages.
“I’m very proud because when I started working for FIFA, we only had one team and it was always Nigeria and I fought pushing. For me fortunately, we had two teams and now we had four teams and fortunately our three teams got out of the group stages. My argument has been proved valid and people can see Africa is on the rise, there is no turning back.”
First group of Banyana players arrive back home:
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