Limpopo-born striker Hildah Magaia was voted Man of the match as she inspired Banyana Banyana to a Women’s World Cup last 16. Banyana beat Italy 3-2 in a dramatic Group G clash at Wellington Regional Stadium in New Zealand.

It is also the first win for South Africa on a FIFA World Cup stage. Banyana Banyana also became the first ever senior national team to secure a knockout spot at a World Cup.

South Africa’s goals came via Magaia, Thembi Kgatlana and an own goal by Benedetta Orsi. Magaia from Dennilton has now scored two goals at the 2023 World Cup and is the first player to score more than one goal in a single edition of the Women’s World Cup for South Africa.

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Head coach Desiree Ellis says her players fought like warriors and described the feeling as amazing.
“They fought like warriors, they fought like the heroines that we know that they are,” she said.

“They fought to be historically remembered and they’ve made history not just getting our first win, but going to the round of 16 and that is freaking amazing.”

Limpopo born Hildah Magaia was voted Man of the match as she inspired Banyana Banyana to a Women's World Cup last 16.
Hildah Magaia


Meanwhile, SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan has also congratulated the team for their achievements.

“We would like to congratulate our girls for making history. Bringing joy not only to 60 million South Africans, but to the African continent as a whole,” said Jordaan.

“Beating Italy (3-2), a country ranked several places above us, showed the determination, professionalism and focus of the African champions. While we cherish and celebrate this historic moment. We must maintain our focus as we prepare to meet the Netherlands in the second round.”

Dr Jordaan was joined by COSAFA, Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Zizi Kodwa, and Premier Soccer League chairman Dr Irvin Khoza, who also sent their congratulations to the team.

South Africa will play Group E winners the Netherlands on Sunday at 04:00.

The Banyana Banyana players have decided to boycott their international friendly send-off match against Botswana on Sunday. The CAF WAFCON winners were scheduled to take on their Botswana counterparts in their last friendly before they go to the FIFA World Cup.

But the team has now decided against taking part in the match due to various issues. The players have questioned the choice of the Tsakane stadium which has been banned twice by the PSL this season alone. The players fear that they could suffer injuries that could see them miss out on a World Cup spot.


Their grievances also include bonuses that they want SAFA to commit to.

Each player is guaranteed R 570 000 from FIFA for playing a part in the competition. SAFA has also been allocated R 30 million to help prepare the squad.

The players want the association to also pay bonuses outside of the FIFA Bonuses. Something that the Association isn’t prepared to do.

Banyana Banyana boycott friendly match over bonuses
Banyana Banyana starting XI


Sports Minister Zizi Kodwa has also addressed the issue and promised to meet the players on Tuesday.

“I have been in contact with the President of SAFA, Dr Danny Jordaan and have received written communication from the SAPFU. In the meantime, I urge the team to be focused on the major task that lies ahead,” said Kodwa.

“They must take every opportunity to prepare to participate and display their immense skill and talent in one of the biggest sporting showcases in the world, the FIFA World Cup.

“Banyana Banyana have endeared themselves to the South African Nation and continent. They have also been great sports ambassadors that inspire so many in the sporting fraternity,” he added. 

Limpopo-born Dr Koketjo Tsebe has become a renowned Sports Psychologist in the South African sports fraternity. Tsebe graduated with a BA degree majoring in Psychology at the University of Limpopo. She obtained her Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Fort Hare choosing a topic on Sports Psychology.

She has also worked for the One Military in Tshwane, Steve Biko Hospital, SAPS, and the Gauteng Department of Health.

But it’s her work within the sports fraternity that has caught people’s attention. Her first gig in Sports was working together with Softball South Africa. She has also since done work with SASCOC, SAIDS, TUT and UNISA.

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The  Mahwelereng-born, who obtained her Ph.D. at the age of 30, shares her journey in the sports industry.

“It’s been an awesome journey and a learning curve for me and a great experience. Different sporting codes has different dynamics and different personalities,” said the current Banyana Banyana Team Psychologist.

Dr Tsebe still has ambitions of working with various sporting codes. She hinted that there could be something in the pipeline, although she didn’t want to divulge much.

Limpopo-born Dr Koketjo Tsebe: Making huge strides in sports psychology
Dr Koketjo Tsebe at work


“I am happy with the progress so far, remember I have already done SASCOC which has multiple sporting codes. So it has been great. Locally I am happy but as much as I’m happy I would also be open to working with other different sporting codes on a long-term basis.”

Tsebe is of the view that there is a dire need to open up about mental health in sports. Something that also remains taboo to talk about in society. But she remains optimistic that there is progress in addressing the stigma.

“There is a very minimal growth, unlike not having anything [growth in dealing with mental health]. So I think we are headed in the right direction.”

Dr Koketjo Tsebe from Limpopo-born making huge strides in sports psychology
Dr Koketjo Tsebe at SAFA House

More and more athletes all over the world have also embraced the issue and have become open about what they deal with in public. Tsebe believes the more well-known athletes people come out, the better to deal with the stigma.

“It’s getting into a recognized field. It’s getting its own space and I think also with the role of media creating awareness and mostly athletes coming out to speak about mental health is also playing a role because there are a lot of athletes in recent years who came out to speak about their issues. We need to challenge the stigma around mental health especially in sports.”