Ecstatic fans give Bafana a hero’s welcome in the crack of dawn

Following a successful 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), Bafana Bafana finally touched down at the OR Tambo International Airport amid scenes of euphoria and excitement in the early hours of Wednesday.

As early as 4:00am, the airport was blanketed by a wave of SA flags and a whirlwind of Bafana jerseys and colours.

And as the Afcon bronze medalists emerged from the arrivals’ door, they were happily received by the boisterous, proud South African supporters.

The brave 23-man Bafana Bafana squad, led by captain fantastic Ronwen Williams and coach Hugo Broos, were left in awe at the kind of reception they received at the fully packed airport.

The fans chanted their favourite Bafana songs, some ululated, and others blew their vuvuzelas, creating a razzmatazz atmosphere in those early hours of Wednesday morning.

Some of the dignitaries who kicked their blankets to join in the early morning celebrations were Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture Zizi Kodwa and Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi.

SA Super fans Saddam Maake and Mama Joy arrived with the team in their traditional Bafana colours. Famous musician Donald was also among the crowd. 

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) entourage, led by commander-in-chief Julius Malema, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, and Dali Mpofu, also graced the event.

The Red Berets ground forces also arrived in large numbers and led the celebrations from the front.

From Safa, president Danny Jordaan and Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis were also present. Ellis left the Banyana team’s camp to welcome his male counterparts.

Jordaan thanked the players and South African supporters: “Thank you for coming. Thank you so much for your support today.

“The team worked very hard, and they got a lot of support from South Africans. This is a turning point for SA football, and we must capitalise on this success,” Jordaan said.

Bafana captain Williams, who was chosen as the Goalkeeper of the Tournament, thanked his teammates and the association for the success that they enjoyed in Ivory Coast.

He said that without working together, they would not have reached the highs that they did. Williams also thanked the SA supporters for coming in large numbers to welcome them.

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