Bafana Bafana wow the Lowveld public
I have heard and read stories about sports stars bringing shopping malls to a standstill, but never experienced it. Today I saw it with my own eyes. It’s a Friday at Ilanga Mall in Nelspruit 48 hours before Bafana Bafana take on Nigeria’s Super Eagles at the Mbombela Stadium. Bafana are in town and the players have decided to make a visit to the mall. They were greeted with ululating and screams of joy. When I walked in the mall it was pretty normal and quiet day in the Lowveld. Fifteen minutes later people came out of work and shops to meet and greet their national heroes. Many were overwhelmed. I understand it’s not every day that u bump into your favourite soccer player, but even I didn’t expect this sort of response. The last time I saw a mini stampede was at the OR Tambo International airport when international boxer Floyd Mayweather landed in SA.
Back by popular demand is Itumeleng Khune was the flavour of the day. Many ladies seemed to lose their senses, when he strolled about. He hugged and posed with the fans and smiled. You can tell his in a good space when he is within the national team. Khune seems to understand the importance of being with fans. Watching him in training is a marvel. His professionalism and the way he goes about marshalling his defence makes one wish he had been at AFCON 2015. Now Khune is not just any keeper he is a “sweeper keeper.” That’s not a term bandied about every day. Spiderkid spoke about having lost two sponsors when he was injured. If those sponsors knew what I saw today, they’d go running back to him to endorse their brand. Khune is back and he is here to stay.
*Author: Mbali Mokoko @mbalimokoko