Motsepe Foundation makes donation to break South African women’s pre-World Cup strike

July 7 – The South Africa Football Association (SAFA) says a pay dispute with its Women’s World Cup squad has been resolved after a charity set up by Confederation of African Football president and billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe stepped in.

The team, known as ‘Banyana Banyana’, had been due to face Botswana in a friendly last Sunday as a send-off to the tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

But with the squad locked in a dispute with SAFA over bonus payments and contracts for the showpiece event, the entire squad sat out the game with a shadow national side, including a 13-year-old, taking the field instead.

SAFA said an amicable resolution had now been reached following a donation from the Motsepe Foundation, which focuses on youth, women and other vulnerable groups across Africa.

The country’s minister of Sport Zizi Kodwa had called on SAFA to meet with the players’ union to resolve the issue, knowing that South Africa are bidding to host the tournament in 2027.

Precious Moloi-Motsepe, CEO of the Motsepe Foundation, said they felt “duty-bound to make a humble donation”, reported to be $320,000, to be shared between the 23 players.

South Africa’s treatment of its women players was thrust into the limelight last year when former national captain Portia Modise, who was nominated for FIFA’s world player of the year award in 2005, spoke about how she was sometimes paid $20 a game to play for the national team.

She claimed she was living in “a shack” while playing for South Africa at times during her career. Modise retired in 2015 after 15 years with the team, scoring 101 international goals.

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