South Africa's players, that are due to travel to the FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, refused to play against Botswana ©Getty Images

South Africa have been plunged into turmoil just over two weeks before the FIFA Women’s World Cup after players boycotted a friendly due to a feud with the country’s governing body.

A match was arranged between South Africa and Botswana at the Tsakane Stadium yesterday.

But players who are set to represent South Africa at the FIFA Women’s World Cup refused to take to the field.

The stand-off forced the South African Football Association (SAFA) to put together a makeshift team that included a 13-year-old for the fixture which was subsequently delayed by an hour.

South Africa were thumped 5-0 by Botswana while the World Cup team looked on from the stands.

Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe, head of the South African Football Players Union (SAFPU), said poor pay was one of the reasons why players refused to play.

"They are fighting for their rights," Gaoshubelwe said in a video on Twitter.

"SAFA doesn’t want to include money in their contracts.

"We must fight for the rights of these players."

South African Sports Minister Zizi Kodwa has called for a meeting with the SAFA and the SAPFU in a bid to resolve "serious concerns expressed" by the team before the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which is due to start on June 20 across Australia and New Zealand.

Kodwa said discussions with the SAPFU would focus on the team’s working, welfare and health conditions, "including transparency and accountability related to the signing of contracts".

"I urge the team to be focused on the major task that lies ahead - of taking every opportunity to prepare to participate and display their immense skill and talent on one of the biggest sporting showcases in the world," Kodwa wrote.

"Women’s development, women’s agency and voice, and women’s dignity in sport remains at the centre of the Government’s gender equality agenda.

"Women players are assured of a safe environment to raise their concerns without fear of victimisation."

South Africa, who last year won the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, have been pitted against Sweden, Italy and Argentina in the group stages of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The African nation is seeking to secure the hosting rights for the 2027 FIFA Women's World Cup.