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Williams Saddened By Lack Of Support Around Bafana

Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Ronwen Williams has expressed his disappointment at the lack of excitement around the national team, as they host 2022 World Cup semi-finalists Morocco in the last qualifying match of the Africa Cup of Nations at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

Williams, who is the skipper of the side, said there is no hype around the country’s football team, even after they have qualified for the AFCON finals that will take place in Ivory Coast in January and February next year.

Unlike 20 years ago, fans have lost interest in attending Bafana games at home after the consistent failures to qualify for AFCONs and World Cups.

Another reason why the interest seemingly has diminished could be the country’s lack of exporting players to play in the big top five leagues in Europe, while many of the Bafana games have been marketed poorly.

Bafana qualified for the AFCON finals with a game to spare after beating Liberia away in March, which was for the first time since being knocked out of the quarter-finals by Nigeria in the 2019 edition in Egypt.

As they host World Cup semi-finalists Morocco on Saturday, there is a little air of excitement from fans around the country in hosting the nation that is number one in Africa and 11th in the FIFA World rankings.       

“Obviously it is a bit disappointing, having been on the other side a few years ago, got a lot of criticism and rightfully so,” said Williams during Monday’s press conference.

“You don’t see any hype about us, it is a bit sad. It’s a bit disappointing because you must support the national team, support us through thick and thin. That’s why we need each and everyone’s support, we can’t do it alone.”

When Bafana opened the qualifiers in June last year in Morocco, the venue was packed to the rafters at the Prince Moulay Abdallah in Rabat.

It was also the same thing when they played away against Liberia in Monrovia, with fans packing the venue hours before the game, leaving Williams dreaming to play in such attendance at home.

“When we play these teams away, they make it so difficult for us and once we play at home, we don’t see the numbers, we don’t see the true support one would like to get,” added Williams, who was in goals when Bafana lost to Morocco in the group stage match in the AFCON finals in 2019.

“I just like to urge fans to come out, support the team because you can see there is something good growing amongst us.

“In the last few years, we have lost two or three games at home and people don’t speak too much about what we have done.

“It is extremely good work and people don’t appreciate it.”

Morocco, unlike Bafana, had a warm-up friendly ahead of their clash at FNB Stadium, drawing 0-0 with Cape Verde in Rabat on Monday night.

Robin-Duke Madlala
Robin-Duke Madlala
Robin-Duke Madlala is iDiski Times' former KwaZulu-Natal-based web journalist. Boasting extensive experience in the South African football landscape, Robin-Duke has previously worked for Kick-Off Magazine, Soccer Laduma, and Daily Sun and Sunday Sun. He specialises in breaking news and transfers around South Africa’s big clubs in KZN. Robin-Duke has left iDiski Times.