FT Sideline: Are Banyana Banyana better than Bafana Bafana?
It is an open secret that most South African football lovers consider the National women’s team to be better than the men’s team, Banyana Banyana, and their showing in the AFCON women’s cup pays testimony to such assertions.
Led by the evergreen Desiree Ellis, Banyana Banyana have been dishing out stellar performances at the soon to end Women’s championships in Ghana and they have done the impossible as they have not only secured a place in the final of the AWCON against rivals Nigeria, but they have also booked themselves a spot in the women’s FIFA world cup in France next year! Quite remarkable if you ask me.
On one side, Bafana Bafana have been struggling for results to help them qualify for the upcoming 2019 AFCON tournament whose venue is yet to be confirmed after Cameroon was stripped of the hosting rights. At present, Bafana sit second in their group, behind Nigeria who have already secured their qualification at the back of the draw with Bafana Bafana in early November. As such, Stuart Baxter's men need at least a point against Libya in their last game in order to seal their qualification. The inconsistent performances have certainly not helped the team’s fortunes as more criticism has continued to fall over them, with some even calling for Stuart Baxter’s sacking. To add, Bafana's failure to qualify for any of the major international competitions since the 2010 FIFA world cup (which they qualified as hosts) has rather tarnished the team’s reputation and raised more questions from the football fraternity.
On the other hand, Banyana Banyana have been growing in leaps and bounds. The quality of their football has consistently improved over time. Unlike the men’s team, Banyana Banyana do not get as much resources compared to their male colleagues and yet, they have been able to put in consistent performances for a long time now. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Bafana Bafana. Such positive showing has drawn the attention of most South Africans who have called on the South African football body, SAFA, for Banyana Banyana to receive the same kind of remuneration, perks, benefits and sponsorship monies as their male counterparts, Bafana Bafana.
With all being said, perhaps for some it is not a black or white answer regarding which is the better team, taking into account the differing dynamics in which both sides play in. However, Banyana Banyana have slowly emerged as the only silver lining representing the South African nation in international football.
On a lighter note, many are fanying a Bafana Bafana match up against the Ladies team in order to see who is better. Are Banyana better than Bafana?