Banyana Banyana to Bid Farewell to Megan Rapinoe in International Friendly Against USA

Banyana Banyana pictured in the change room at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Photo: Banyana Banyana

South Africa’s Banyana Banyana will face off against the USA in a highly-anticipated international friendly, in what will also mark the retirement of football great, Megan Rapinoe, on 24 September 2023 at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

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The FIFA Rankings released on August 25 brought great news for Banyana Banyana and their fans. Climbing an impressive nine spots, the team shot up from 54th to 45th in the world rankings. This significant leap accurately reflects their remarkable performance at the recent World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand. 

Capturing hearts and raising expectations, Desiree Ellis’ team had an impressive run that led to their inclusion on the 2023 Momentum gsport Awards shortlist for the prestigious Team of the Year award.

Amidst their remarkable journey, Ellis features as a finalists in the Coach of the Year category, showcasing her exceptional leadership. Additionally, goalkeeper Andile Dlamini’s outstanding performances have not gone unnoticed, as she is in the running for the esteemed Momentum Athlete of the Year and Telkom Woman of the Year categories. 

The retirement of Rapinoe, a global football icon, has left fans both saddened and excited for her farewell game. The United States Soccer Federation announced that the 38-year-old veteran will play her final match for the U.S. women’s national team against South Africa.

Rapinoe, known for her incredible contributions to the sport, will be honoured before the match in recognition of her illustrious career.

With an impressive international career spanning 203 appearances, Rapinoe leaves the game as one of the most decorated players in U.S. history. Her 63 goals and 73 assists for the USWNT place her among the top 10 players of all time in both categories. The FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand saw her reach the landmark of 200 games played for her country, making her the 14th American to achieve this feat.

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In a statement released by U.S. Soccer, Rapinoe shared her emotions about bidding farewell to the sport that has been an integral part of her life for over 30 years. 

She expressed overwhelming joy and gratitude when reflecting on her career, stating, “People may think that my career coming to an end would bring sadness, but when I think back on the past 30-plus years of playing this game, my overriding emotions are joy and gratitude.”

As Rapinoe prepares to embark on her final regular-season match in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) with the Washington Spirit on 6 October, she acknowledges the significance of this last opportunity to play for her country in front of devoted fans. It will be a moment to honour her teammates and express gratitude for everyone who has had an impact on her journey as both a person and a player.

The showdown between Banyana Banyana and Megan Rapinoe’s USWNT promises to be a memorable occasion. South Africa’s rising status in women’s football, coupled with Rapinoe’s towering presence on the global stage, sets the stage for an intriguing and emotional encounter. Football enthusiasts around the world eagerly await this clash, marking the end of an era for one of the sport’s most prominent figures.


Photo 1 Caption: Banyana Banyana pictured in the change room at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Photo: Banyana Banyana 

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