Banyana Banyana enter top 50 in latest FIFA ranking

Banyana Banyana enter top 50 in latest FIFA ranking
Credit: Icon Sport

Banyana Banyana are becoming a force in Africa and world football.

From the heady days of getting beaten by a mammoth scoreline, the South African national Women's soccer team has risen to the zenith of the game in Africa.

Banyana Bayana won their first Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) in 2022. They beat perennial arch-rivals, the Super Falcons of Nigeria, 2-1 in the group stage and also beat Zambia before overcoming Morocco 2-1 in the final to become champions.

Their profile has continued to rise, and no longer can they be taken with levity in any competition.

Bayana Bayana has rubbed shoulders with the best in the sport. They have proved that they belong to the elite in the game.

The rise of Banyana Banyana

In the latest FIFA Women’s ranking, Banyana Banyana have entered the top 50. The team once seen as pushovers has become an elite team in women's football. The achievements of Banyana Banyana are worthy of comparison to Bafana Bafana.

They have won the Cup of Nations like the men and also advanced to the knockout rounds of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, better than the men have in their three attempts.

In the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, Banyana Banyana did well to progress to the round of 16, where they lost to the Netherlands.

The 2-0 loss was not embarrassing, as the South African girls gave as much as they received and were unlucky not to have gotten something out of the game.

Why Banyana Banyana jumped to 45th in the latest FIFA Ranking

Thembi Kgatlana - One of Banyana Banyana's stars at the FIFA WWC
Credit: Icon Sport

It is the first time the South African women’s national team will progress into the top 50 on the FIFA ranking. Banyana Banyana are now 45th on the ranking safter dwelling outside the top 50 for a long time.

The ranking of the team in June was 57. The latest FIFA ranking sees them jump 12 places into the top 50. The Super Falcons of Nigeria are the only African team ranked higher than the South Africans. They currently sit above Cameroon, Zambia, Tunisia and Morocco in the rankings.

Why did Banyana Banyana make such a massive leap? Their World Cup performance has plenty to do with it. At the 2023 World Cup, they came up against Sweden (1), Italy (17) and Argentina (31) in the group stage and secured four points. They beat Italy 3-1 and drew 2-2 with Argentina. They eventually lost 2-0 in the Round of 16 to seventh-ranked Netherlands.

The World Cup was favourable for Banyana Banyana in the accumulation of ranking points. They gained 67 points to climb into the top 50.

The only country in the top 50 that gained more points than Banyana Banyana is the Super Falcons with 94 points.

What next for Banyana Banyana?

The next target is to upstage Nigeria from their place as the highest-ranked African team. The Super Falcons are ranked 32 in the world.

Banyana Banyana must maintain consistency to qualify for the 2024 WAFCON. Victories in high-quality friendlies over higher-ranked teams will also help the team climb up the ladder.

For Now, Banyana Banyana can revel in romping into the top 50 best nations in women's football.

This article was most recently revised and updated 11 months ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter. Chooka has a passion for football and has been a fan of Enugu Rangers (over 30 years) and Real Madrid (Since 1996).