The City of Cape Town in tapping into sports tourism as it hosts Banyana Banyana, South Africa’s female national soccer team, and the women’s soccer teams from The Netherlands and Sweden at the Cape Town Stadium for their FIFA World Cup preparation matches.

“Sport plays an important unifying role by bringing together communities from all walks of life, and is a major contributor to the local economy, contributing in excess of R8,8 billion (€563m) to the Western Cape GDP between 2012 and 2015. The economic contribution is testament to the significant role of sport and sporting tourism in local economic development,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, Alderman James Vos.

At the welcoming event held on Tuesday, Vos reiterated that the City believes that Cape Town is a city of sports lovers, with top-class sports facilities, a functioning tourism sector and locals who exhibit the best enthusiasm at sporting events. “Therefore, it makes sense for us, together with the Western Cape Government, to cultivate the lucrative sport tourism industry.

“Besides the players and their support staff, spectators travelling to watch sporting events also contribute millions to the economy. An added benefit is the spend at the city’s tourism attractions and the associated services while visitors are in Cape Town, such as accommodation, transport and the hospitality sector as a whole. It is not always just about the event itself,” added Vos.

“The City would like to extend a warm welcome to all three teams as they do battle on the field in preparation for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup that will take place in France during June-July this year. We are proud to be the host city for the preparation matches especially since this is the first time that Banyana Banyana have qualified to compete in a FIFA Women’s World Cup,” said Executive Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato.

The matches, which will be played in honour of the late Winnie Mandela and Albertina Sisulu, will help the team to prepare for their ultimate battle for the World Cup.

Banyana Banyana will take on Sweden (in a closed session) on Thursday, January 17 at the Athlone Stadium.

The team will then go head-to-head with The Netherlands in the inaugural Winnie Mandela International Challenge on Saturday, January 19, at 15h00. Banyana Banyana will then face Sweden again on January 22 for the Albertina Sisulu Centenary Challenge at 19h00. Both matches will take place at the Cape Town Stadium.