STAR POWER: Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana. Photo:STR/EPA

It’s great to see the support around women’s football in South Africa growing and growing.

There is a momentum behind Banyana Banyana.

This week, coach Desiree Ellis and her team are in Cape Town and the city is buzzing with excitement.

And from what I see, it’s the team that has created that amazing vibe.

Yes, the sisters are doing it for themselves.

This time last year, Banyana were as directionless a national football team as you can get here in South Africa.

Safa was holding back on making the call to make Ellis permanent coach as the team were beginning to show their true promise.

But despite the lack of faith shown in her and her team, they continue to do their work.

And in June, they made it vas by winning the Cosafa Cup.

Next up was the African Women’s Cup of Nations.

Beating Nigeria in the opening match of the tournament really got folks excited.

But after progressing to the final, they couldn’t get the better of the same team and end up with silver.

Still, they were the talk of the town and a cut above the rest.

Most importantly they had become the first SA women’s team that qualified for the World Cup, with a place in France booked for later this year.

And the awards started coming in - for Awcon top scorer Thembi Kgatlana, it was player of the tournament and African Women’s Player of the Year and Women’s Coach of the Year for Ellis.

Finally, the recognition and affirmation came.

And that was all down to their own excellence.

This year, it’s all about them.

This week the Mother City rolls out the red carpet for them as they begin a year when they will be in the spotlight as they prepare for the World Cup in June.

They will help inspire another generation of players, who now can have their own professional league to compete in.

And that’s down to a team of women who just wanted to be the best they can be and are setting about doing that.

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