Bafana Bafana captain Ronwen Williams is drawing inspiration from the Springboks captain Siyamthanda Kolisi to inspire the next generation amid a plethora of criticism they have drawn.
Kolisi has turned out to huge inspiration for so many people worldwide, through his foundation and also by doing his bit on the field of play.
He also drew criticism for marrying someone who is white, but his performance on the field has endeared him to be loved by many and always spoke about the current issues the country is facing, with unemployment being the worst in the world (42 percent).
But this has led him to say the only things South Africa can be happy about is for them as the Boks to create a smile on their faces by performing well on the pitch to bring hope to those who might have given up.
Kolisi became the first black man to captain the Springboks in 2018 and has grown into the role and led the Boks to the World Cup triumph last month, becoming the second captain to lift the World Cup back-to-back after Ritchie McCaw of New Zealand, as they defeated the All Blacks in the final in France.
He has always spoken about the next generation to get inspiration from what they are doing which is the sport of rugby.
“It’s tough,” said Williams as he’s camp for Bafana Bafana ahead of the FIFA World Cup Caf zone qualifier against Benin at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.
“Once you become a professional, there are a lot of things that are out of your control. I always believe in controlling what you can control yourself. I know what I can do and what I’m capable of and I don’t need someone’s approval.
“I just take care of myself. You know we go through so many personal challenges where we come from – society, the places where we come from, lots of things going on and there is a lot of negative things but you need to be strong, try and be the inspiration for things to change.
“I have seen Siya Kolisi always speaking about that. In his press conference, he doesn’t speak about winning, always speaks about being an inspiration to the country. So that is what we are trying to do – to give hope to the person struggling at home.
“The small platform that we get we try and put South Africa on the map and bring hope to the next generation.”
Percy Tau, who is the Bafana vice-captain and was sitting next to Williams, also echoed: “ I think so,” said Tau when asked about chasing success.
“Everything rubs off on the guys. If you watch our training sessions, both teams no one wants to lose. Whoever scores we feel their celebrations – they want to win. I think that is something right now that is happening at training because before it was just training, scores, (it was) normal.
“But now both teams don’t want to lose during the training. We all trying to chase success and we see that in other sports that South Africa can get success. So we also want to follow that.”