July 6 (Reuters) – The South Africa Football Association (SAFA) said a pay dispute with its Women’s World Cup squad had been resolved after a charity stepped in with a “humble donation”.
The team, known by their nickname ‘Banyana Banyana’, had been due to face Botswana in a friendly on Sunday as a send-off to the tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
But with the squad locked in a dispute with SAFA over bonus payments and contracts for the showpiece event, a shadow national side including a 13-year-old took the field instead.
SAFA said an amicable resolution had been reached following a donation from the Motsepe Foundation, which focuses on youth, women and other vulnerable groups across Africa.
Minister of Sport Zizi Kodwa had called on SAFA to meet with the players’ union (SAFPU) to resolve the issue and said in a statement on Wednesday that he was happy the two sides had come together.
“I made the call for SAFA and SAFPU to come together to urgently address the concerns raised by Banyana Banyana, who inspire the country so much,” said Kodwa.
“The Motsepe Foundation was also approached, and I am thrilled by the contribution that they made.
“Banyana Banyana can now focus fully on the FIFA Women’s World Cup, knowing that their immediate concerns have been addressed.”
Precious Moloi-Motsepe, CEO of the foundation, said they felt “duty-bound to make a humble donation…”
South Africa will meet Costa Rica in a final warm-up game in Christchurch on July 15. They open their Group G campaign against Sweden on July 23 before taking on Italy and Argentina.
Reporting by Pearl Josephine Nazare in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford
Source : Reuters