It may sound embarrassing, but it is true! The average member of South Africa’s female national team, Banyana Banyana, has had some level of post-secondary education – unlike the average Nigerian national football team member; and this refers to both female and male national teams. Almost all the players in the Bayana Bayana, brave losing finalists on penalties at the last Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) against 10-time victors Nigeria either possess diplomas or degrees‚ or in the process of earning them.
Banyana – many of whom have studied on bursaries in the US – would surely also make the men’s side blush for the impressive list of academic qualifications behind their names too. From a squad list of 32 players who took part in a pre-Awcon training camp at the University of Pretoria High Performance Centre only two do not have a degree or a diploma‚ or are not currently studying towards one.
One of those is captain Janine van Wyk‚ who at 31 has her Caf B-licence coaching qualification. Twelve of the players have degrees and five diplomas. A further 10 are studying degrees and three diplomas. One player‚ Rhoda Mulaudzi‚ the Canberra United forward‚ has a diploma in sports management and bachelor of technology degree in business management‚ both from Vaal University of Technology.
Simphiwe Dludlu‚ who like Mulaudzi‚ was at the pre-Awcon camp but missed the tournament‚ has a bachelor in sports science and her Caf A and B coaching licences‚ and Uefa B licence. Among stars of the Awcon‚ winger Refiloe Jane has a BTech in sports management from Tshwane University of Technology‚ where she is studying her masters in marketing. Midfielder Leandra Smeda has a BTech in food technology and is studying a post-grad diploma in sport development.
Awcon top scorer and player of the tournament Thembi Kgatlana is studying a degree in tourism at the University of the Western Cape.
Goalkeeper Kaylin Swart has a business degree in sports management from Menlo College‚ US; and forward Jermaine Seoposenwe a bachelor of science in business administration from Samford University‚ US.