Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images

South Africa's Kholosa Biyana (left) and Tisetso Makhubela react after the final whistle South Africa v Germany - FIFA Women's World Cup 2019 - Group B - Stade de la Mosson 17-06-2019

South Africa's Banyana Banyana Scores Fourth COSAFA Title

South Africa's women's national soccer team, Banyana Banyana, has won the 2020 COSAFA title making it their fourth consecutive win. Despite this victory, they remain significantly underpaid compared to the national men's soccer team, Bafana Bafana.

South Africa's women's national team, Banyanya Banyanya, has secured the 2020 Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) cup. According to EWN, This is Banyana Banyana's fourth victory in a row, making it their seventh COSAFA title win overall. The Southern African regional tournament took place over the past few weeks and came to an enthralling end over the recent weekend. The undefeated COSAFA champions won 2-1 against Botswana's Zebras.

Banyana Banyana scored the first goal from Sibulele Holweni within the first two minutes of the match which took place on Saturday. This admittedly stunned the Zebras who had qualified for the COSAFA finals for the first time ever. South Africa scored again, this time from Gabriela Salgado, in the second half of the game. Botswana tried to redeem themselves with just five minutes left remaining by netting a single goal from Thando Mokgabo in the 85th minute.

The ever spirited Banyana Banyana team has been dominating the 2020 COSAFA league. They beat Malawi 6-2 in the semi-finals and led in goal difference throughout the tournament. Former Banyana Banyana player, Desiree Ellis, serves as head coach and has been commended for leading the 2020 win. Hilda Magaia, who scored a hat-rick against Malawi, was awarded the "Player of the Tournament".

Despite this win, South Africa's government still prioritises the men's national soccer team, Bafana Bafana, which continues to disappoint in both continental and international tournaments. Bafana Bafana last won the COSAFA cup in 2007––exactly 13 years ago. Banyana Banyana's indomitable victories, however, do not translate to their earnings. According to News24, team members earn despairingly less than Bafana Bafana. South Africa reportedly awards financial incentives per match wins with Banyana Banyana players only earning a mere R5000 while Bafana Bafana players earn R60 000. Matches that end in a draw earn the women's team R4000 while the men earn tenfold per player.

There has been unending public outcry about gender pay difference across South African sports. The South African Football Association (SAFA), due to mounting pressure, stated that the women's team would earn an equal pay to the men's team following their entry into the FIFA World Cup in 2019.

COSAFA has been taking place since 1996. Women's teams started participating in 2002 with South Africa having won seven out of the eight COSAFA editions and lost out to Zimbabwe in 2011.

Banyana Banyana's win had South Africans riled up.

Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Image

#EndSARS: 1 Year Later And It's Business As Usual For The Nigerian Government

Thousands filled the streets of Nigeria to remember those slain in The #LekkiTollGateMassacre...while the government insists it didn't happen.

This week marks 1 year since Nigerians began protests against police brutality and demanded an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The #EndSARS protests took the world by storm as we witnessed Nigerian forces abuse, harass and murder those fighting for a free nation. Reports of illegal detention, profiling, extortion, and extrajudicial killings followed the special task force's existence, forcing the government to demolish the unit on October 11th, 2020. However, protestors remained angered and desperate to be heard. It wasn't until October 20th, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators at Lekki tollgate in the country's capital, Lagos, that the protests came to a fatal end. More than 56 deaths from across the country were reported, while hundreds more were traumatized as the Nigerian government continued to rule by force. The incident sparked global outrage as the Nigerian army refused to acknowledge or admit to firing shots at unarmed protesters in the dead of night.

It's a year later, and nothing has changed.

Young Nigerians claim to still face unnecessary and violent interactions with the police and none of the demands towards systemic changes have been met. Fisayo Soyombo the founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, told Al Jazeera, "Yes, there has not been any reform. Police brutality exists till today," while maintaining that his organization has reported "scores" of cases of police brutality over this past year.

During October 2020's protests, Nigerian authorities turned a blind eye and insisted that the youth-led movement was anti-government and intended to overthrow the administration of current President Muhammadu Buhari. During a press conference on Wednesday, in an attempt to discredit the protests, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed hailed the Nigerian army and police forces for the role they played in the #EndSARS protests, going as far as to say that the Lekki Toll Massacre was a "phantom massacre with no bodies." These brazen claims came while protesters continued to gather in several major cities across the country. The minister even went on to shame CNN, Nigerian favorite DJ Switch as well as Amnesty International, for reporting deaths at Lekki. Mohammed pushed even further by saying, "The six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the human rights organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre."

With the reports of abuse still coming out of the West African nation, an end to the struggle is not in sight. During Wednesday's protest, a journalist for the Daily Post was detained by Nigerian forces while covering the demonstrations.

According to the BBC, additional police units have been set up in the place of SARS, though some resurfacing SARS officers and allies claim to still be around.

Young Nigerians relied heavily on social media during the protests and returned this year to voice their opinions around the first anniversary of an experience that few will be lucky enough to forget.

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