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Banyana Banyana Victory Spurs Gender Parity Debate

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa rolled out the red carpet for the women’s football team on Wednesday, saying they deserved to be paid as much as their male counterparts after they won their first Africa Cup of Nations. South Africa beat tournament hosts Morocco 2-1 in the final on Saturday in Rabat, thanks to a brace from striker Hildah Magaia. It was the first continental title for the side known as Banyana Banyana after five final defeats. The victory has sparked a public debate around equal pay in the country, after it was reported the players would receive less money in prize bonuses than their male colleagues did for reaching the quarter-finals of the men’s tournament in 2019. “Our hearts are filled with pride. They are bursting at the seams with a great deal of joy,” Ramaphosa said during a reception at the government’s Union Buildings in the capital. “You deserve equal pay for equal work that you do,” he told the players, urging the country’s ministers of finance and sports to up the bonus. Ramaphosa said the country should outlaw pay discrimination and embark on a programme to bridge the gender pay gap.