Following the disappointing exit from the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), Bafana Bafana captain Ronwen Williams has sent a heartfelt message to all South Africans.
Bafana missed out on an opportunity to play in the Afcon final on Saturday after losing 4-2 on penalties to Nigeria in the semi-finals. The pulsating clash took place at the Stade de la Paix in Bouaké on Wednesday night.
It goes without saying that Bafana Bafana, under the leadership of Belgian tactician Hugo Broos, surprised many with their remarkable display in Ivory Coast.
First semi-final stage in 24 years
Broos guided Bafana to the Afcon semi-finals stage for the first time since 2000, a feat that has restored the love and hope in the men’s senior national team.
Williams, who won the hearts of many with individual brilliance between the sticks, more so when he saved four penalties against Cape Verde in the quarterfinals, thanked all South Africans for their messages of support since the start of the tournament.
“It was heartfelt (the messages of support), we felt their support on social media, and we have seen each and every message of support and encouragement,” Williams told Safa media.
“This is what I’ve been crying for in the last year or so, for the public to get behind the team. But in saying that, it’s all about the results and I think we got the results [by reaching the semi-finals].
“Hopefully this can be a relationship that we can build as a country together – to know that it’s possible and we need their support, we need them to fill up the stadiums and their words of encouragement.
“So, just seeing all the photos and big screens set up across the country shows that once we stand together, we can be united.”
With Bafana set to still play DR Congo in the third/fourth place for the bronze medal on Saturday night, the 32-year-old shot stopper said the team will go all out to ensure they end the Afcon on a high.
“The team deserved to be in the final but for us now is to recover and go out there on Saturday and finish on a positive note,” he added.
“We have done extremely well at this tournament and a cherry on top would be finishing with the bronze medal.”