What are we doing to create future sport stars?

A roundtable discussion about what South Africans needs to do to create future sport stars to follow in the footsteps of Banyana Banyana.

FILE: Women’s African Cup of Nations champions, Banyana Banyana at their horoes’ welcome held at O.R Tambo International Airport on 26 July 2022. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's national women's football team Banyana Banyana were recently crowned 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) champions in Morocco. Hilda Magaia’s second-half goal guided Banyana to a narrow victory over the tournament hosts, Morocco. Magaia later also earned the tournament's golden boot award, which she shared with 2022 Wafcon Player of the Tournament Ghilzane Chebbak of Morocco.

Following their heroics at the tournament, Banyana came back home to a heroes' welcome at the OR Tambo International Airport and also enjoyed gifts in the forms of prize money, bursaries and even a presidential dinner at the Union Building in Pretoria.

But this is not the first time that South Africa is at the helm of glory, as in 2019 the Springboks flew the flag high as they clinched their third Rugby World Cup title after beating England in Japan.
These victories are evident that South African sports teams are capable of winning but a lot still needs to be done in the sports ministry to lead other SA teams, like Bafana Bafana, who last tasted continental glory in 1995, to becoming champions.

2022 Wafcon champions Banyana Banyana at OR Tambo International Airport upon arrival in South Africa on 26 July 2022. Picture: Abigal Javier

During a roundtable discussion with Eyewitness News' Ray White, sports scientist Ross Tucker said that while we are celebrating Banyana Banyana we need to be sure that another group of future Banyana stars was being developed.

“We have to be efficient in setting up women's sports from an early age so that when they get to the Wafcon level we have a lot of quality players to choose from,” Tucker said.

While Fran Hilton–Smith who is the former Banyana Banyana head coach and still remains involved in developing women football at grassroots level, said that when she was the head coach of Banyana, she started an academy to manage some of the Banyana players at high performance that we see winning now and it has paid off.

“Money is a priority but I’ve learnt in football to get by with the little we had, through funding and other resources, to ensure a good structure for the players,” Hilton-Smith said.

Listen to the full conversation below.