Banyana's historic World Cup achievement attracts interest from insurance company MiWay
Banyana Banyana's first ever qualification to the World Cup this week has not gone unnoticed after it emerged on Thursday afternoon that insurance company MiWay are thinking about sponsoring the national women's team in the build-up to the global showpiece in France next year.
MiWay chief executive Rene Otto told TimesLIVE that they are interested in supporting Banyana and he took things a step further when he also pledged R100,000 towards a once-off bonus to be awarded of the team in recognition of their historic achievement.
Otto challenged other members of corporate South Africa to put their money where their mouths are and also contribute towards the once-off bonus.
“We would love to sponsor Banyana Banyana in the future‚” he said.
“Obviously we respect the fact that they have a sponsor (Sasol) at the moment and at the same time we don’t know what opportunities are there.
"We are involved in other sporting sponsorship such as the Wally Hayward Marathon at the moment.”
Otto said fellow corporate are yet to respond to the challenge but he will follow up to see who is willing to join them.
“I will make a follow up to see which companies are interested‚" he said.
"But it would be sad if there are no other companies that want to join us.
"Over the last few weeks we have taken note of what Banyana Banyana were doing in Ghana and we realised that we don’t appreciate them enough.
"They are a beacon of light‚ they have overcome a lot of obstacles and they have made the whole country proud.
“The other thing that we have noticed is that there is a huge (payment) discrepancy between Banyana Banyana and Bafana Bafana‚ the gap is just too big.
"When I arrived for a meeting with some of my colleagues‚ they applauded me because they agreed that what I did (making the pledge) was the right thing.”
Before they left for the tournament‚ Banyana were promised a share of R2,520,000 if they win the tournament or R1,575,000 if they finish runners up.
Outsurance said they would not follow MiWay's lead as they are already supporting the SA Football Association (Safa) through their sponsorship of South African match officials.
“We are very proud of Banyana Banyana qualifying for the World Cup‚" said Natasha Kawulesar‚ the Outsurance head of client relations.
"It’s definitely a huge achievement and great to see the support the team is receiving.
"We are passionate about soccer in South Africa and recently announced a partnership with Safa to sponsor the match officials.
"This is a five-year R50m commitment with a primary objective of developing the quality of referring at all levels.
"Furthermore‚ the sponsorship has a stated objective of promoting gender equality in this historically male-dominated arena.
"We are sticking to our stated strategy and as such won’t be supporting the ‘MiWay challenge’.