The third group of Banyana Banyana players landed back in South Africa on Thursday afternoon from the 2023 FIFA World Cup that is being hosted in Australia and New Zealand.
Twelve players touched down at the OR Tambo International Airport after the first group landed on Tuesday while another landed on Wednesday.
Banyana made history by being the first South African team to reach the last 16 of a FIFA World Cup where they were knocked out by the Netherlands.
Thursday’s group arrived to a heroes welcome with the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture and his counterpart, in the Women, Children, and People with Disabilities’ portfolio, present.
— eNCA (@eNCA) August 10, 2023
Hildah Magaia, Noko Matlou and Thembi Kgatlana were amongst the first Banyana group to arrive on Tuesday.
“We went there with the mandate of qualifying for the Round of 16 and we did that. So it is a proud moment for all of us. We picked up injuries in the game against the Netherlands and it really killed our morale in the game. These things happen in football,” said Magaia.
“Each and every one of us is proud,” added the Banyana attacker.
Veteran defender, Noko Matlou, was also proud of their efforts down under.
“It is not by mistake that we won WAFCON last year,” she said. “We went to the World Cup and we wanted to give our best, and we did our best. We went to the knockout stages and were unlucky to lose to the Netherlands in the Round of 16,” said the Banyana defender.
There is no confirmation yet on when coach Desiree Ellis is set to land back in the country. Banyana will play the United States of America in an international friendly next month.
Written by: Ntsako Mukhari