Great Year for Banyana

Banyana Banyana, who won the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, capped off a great year when they were presented with the Public Servant Award by Unisa Chancellor Thabo Mbeki.

Coach Desiree Ellis won the Confederation of African Football (CAF) best women’s coach of the year for the third year running after helping Banyana qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in Australia/New Zealand next year.

The Public Servant Award is awarded to South Africans who have made significant contribution in the service of humanity.


  1. Banyana Banyana’s first ever match was played 30 May 1993 against Swaziland. South Africa won 14-0.
  2. Former England international Terry Paine was the team’s first coach.
  3. Cape Town-born Anthea Childs was Banyana Banyana’s first captain. The longest serving captain is Desiree Ellis, who led the team from 1994 to 2002.
  4. The nickname Banyana Banyana was adopted in 1996.
  5. Banyana’s lowest rank was in 2005 when they occupied 74th spot in the Fifa rankings.
  6. Banyana participated in their first international competition in 1995 at the African Women Championships, losing on the Final to Nigeria.
  7. The 2009 Cyprus Cup was Banyana’s first international tournament.
  8. The Netherlands was the first non-African country to play against Banyana Banyana in February 2000. The Dutch won 2-0.
  9. Banyana’s first international friendly outside of Africa was against China. Banyana played two matches against the Chinese in October 2003, losing 8-0 and 13-0 – their heaviest loss to date.
  10. Banyana qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games under the guidance of Joseph Mkhonza. This was the first time they qualified for a major international tournament.


*Image courtesy of @Banyana_Banyana

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