Banyana Banyana laud decision to pay players directly at Women’s World Cup

Banyana Banyana laud decision to pay players directly at Women’s World Cup
Busisiwe Innocencia Ndimemi of South Africa and Eddelsisingh Emma Naris of Namibia in action during the Cosafa Women's Championship semifinal at Isaac Wolfson Stadium in Gqeberha on 9 September 2022. (Photo: Richard Huggard / Gallo Images)

Following Fifa’s announcement a week ago that players participating in the upcoming Women’s World Cup will be paid directly by the global governing body, the Banyana Banyana camp is pleased.

Earlier this month soccer’s global governing body Fifa announced that it was shaking up the remuneration system for players participating in the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.

Whereas players previously waited for their federations to disperse the funds acquired from their participation at a World Cup, in the 2023 edition Fifa announced that it would pay players directly.

Every player at this year’s women’s soccer spectacle will be guaranteed at least $30,000 (roughly R570,000). This is double the average female soccer player’s annual salary worldwide.

South Africa women’s national soccer team coach Desiree Ellis. (Photo: Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images)

The individual financial incentive will increase with each stage of the tournament that teams and their players navigate past. Each player in the winning national team will receive $270,000 (about R5-million) for their efforts.

“It’s fantastic by Fifa… It shows what they’ve always said, that they’re going to take care of women’s soccer,” Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis told journalists during her team’s training session in preparation for the showpiece.

“That could be also one motivating factor for players to really step up. Not that you need a motivating factor to play in the World Cup,” she added.

The new system was put in place on the back of global players’ union Fifpro aggressively campaigning for its inception. This came as some federations have been tardy in adequately compensating their players after their pool of tournament participation funds was received.

“It will be important. We just saw it in the media. Once the association has given us more information, we will have a better picture of what it actually means,” said veteran Banyana Banyana player Noko Matlou, who plays for SD Eibar in Spain.

‘Only the beginning’

Fifpro president David Aganzo said of the development when it was rubber-stamped: “Fifpro is very pleased with the steps taken by Fifa in establishing this guaranteed player payment mechanism.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Desiree Ellis revels in her Banyana options as she picks a preliminary World Cup squad

“The key behind the success of this model is that it is universally applied, and it is fair. Which is what women’s football players tell us they want above all else. We see this as only the beginning of what will be a transformational journey for the women’s professional football landscape.”

Ellis also took the opportunity to pass her condolences to the family of late former Bafana Bafana coach, Clive Barker. The 78-year-old, who famously led South Africa’s senior men’s side to their sole Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) triumph in 1996, succumbed to illness over the past weekend.

Noko Matlou of South Africa during a friendly against Botswana at Bidvest Stadium in Johannesburg on 13 April 2021. (Photo: Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images)

“When I look back at all of that I remember sitting in front of my TV watching the 1996 Afcon, and Bafana winning it. We’ve all had dreams and hopes since then. They allowed us to dream… Hopefully we can do well at the World Cup, just to say a thank you to Clive Barker,” said Ellis. 

South Africa will face Sweden, Italy and Argentina in the group stage of the global showpiece, which begins on 20 July. DM


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