Mbalula lauds women's teams
Johannesburg - Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has congratulated the national women's football and netball teams for their performances in international tournaments at the weekend.
Banyana Banyana secured the silver medal at the African Women's Championships, going down 4-0 to hosts Equatorial Guinea in the final in Malabo on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, in Auckland, New Zealand, the Proteas netball side bagged the bronze medal in the Fast5 World Series after beating Jamaica 38-34 in the third-place playoff.
Mbalula said Banyana, who qualified for the Olympic Games for the first time this year, had a promising future after enjoying a successful season.
“Although they did not win the (African) Championships, Banyana Banyana has proven that they are an ever improving team that has shown progress over the last year," Mbalula said.
"The participation of Banyana Banyana at the London Olympics has been a valuable experience which assisted them in this tournament.
"Their historic victory over eight-time champions Nigeria in the semi-finals has been a highlight of the tournament and has sent a clear message that they are a force to be reckoned with in Africa.
“I also want to congratulate SAFA (the SA Football Association) and the management team under the astute leadership of (head coach) Joseph Mkhonza for a very good campaign at these championships and express my hope that we will work together to ensure that our girls go from strength to strength."
Mbalula also lauded the netball side on their performance, and he believed next year's new professional domestic league would assist further in raising the staus of the sport in the country.
“This performance by Amantombazana is certainly one of the best in international competitions in recent times and has proven that with some incentive we can be a top netball nation," he said.
"The forthcoming professional netball league will serve as a platform to further enhance and develop our ability as a netball powerhouse."