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Backlash Against Banyana Banyana as They Are Labelled “Mercenaries” and “Traitors” Amid Boycott



Banyana Banyana boycotted their match against Botswana

Banyana Banyana boycotted their match against Botswana, making headlines. They cited concerns over the unsuitability of the match venue in the Tsakane township. East Coast Radio reports that the players expressed fears of potential injuries that could jeopardise their participation in the upcoming World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. They had hoped to play their final preparatory game at a more prestigious venue like Soccer City or Orlando Stadium. However, football officials called up players from a local league and delayed the kick-off. This change resulted in a resounding 5-0 victory for Botswana; a team ranked significantly lower. This outcome was a significant embarrassment for Banyana Banyana, who had previously wanted stronger opponents before the boycott.

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Amidst these controversies, Banyana Banyana voiced their dissatisfaction with the financial arrangements ahead of the World Cup, where they will face Sweden, Argentina, and Italy in Group G. According to the players, while FIFA has committed to providing them with $30,000 each for their participation, they will receive nothing from the South African Football Association (Safa). In response, the team refused to sign pre-tournament contracts, demanding an additional $21,000 per player from Safa. Safa chief financial officer Gronie Hluyo labelled the players’ demands as unreasonable and highlighted that the FIFA commitment was already more substantial than previous allocations for national teams.

These venue and bonus dramas unfolded just a week after reports of a chaotic function in Pretoria during which the World Cup squad was announced. The event, broadcast live on public broadcaster SABC, experienced the absence of some political invitees, a malfunctioning sound system, and blank stage screens.

As the controversy continues, Banyana Banyana will soon depart for New Zealand in two groups, with plans to play a final warm-up match against Costa Rica before their first World Cup match against Sweden in Wellington on July 23.


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Picture: Twitter / thomasmlambo

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