Returning from the Africa Cup of Nations as the third best team on the continent, few South Africans are expected to turn up to welcome back the Hugo Broos-coached Bafana Bafana at OR Tambo International in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
That will be due to Bafana’s 4am arrival time when their plane is expected to touch down on SA soil.
It’s highly unlikely that many fans will be ready and waiting in the early hours of the morning to catch a glimpse of the country’s new football heroes. That will be in stark contrast to the reception the Siya Kolisi-led Springboks received as they returned to South Africa after winning the Rugby World Cup last year.
It has been reported by TimesLive, however, that the SA Football Association (Safa) are busy working on a welcome event at a later, more convenient, time.
Bafana’s bronze medal
The Ronwen Williams-led Bafana claimed the bronze medal on Saturday, beating Democratic Republic of Congo in another dramatic penalty shootout. In fact, it was the third penalty shootout Bafana had been involved in, beating Cape Verde in the quarter-final and losing to Nigeria in the semis.
Williams in particular was the shining light for Bafana during the tournament. Williams received the Best Goalkeeper award on Sunday night.
The awards were dished out after the final in which hosts Ivory Coast beat Nigeria 2-1 to win the Afcon title in Abidjan.
SA skipper Williams was the hero in the third place playoff between Bafana Bafana and DR Congo, with two saves in a penalty shootout. Bafana won the shootout 6-5 as Williams saved attempts from DR Congo’s Chancel Mbemba and Meschack Elia ensured his side won the bronze medal in the Ivory Coast.
Before Elia had his kick saved, Siyanda Xulu converted to give South Africa what proved the decisive lead in the shootout.
Williams also hit the headlines in the quarter-final with a record four penalty saves against Cape Verde, and that also followed a strong performance in the Round of 16 in which he helped keep tournament favourites Morocco scoreless as Bafana claimed a 2-0 win to advance.
The Mamelodi Sundowns keeper Williams also received high praise on social media following his exploits at the African showpiece event.