Pandemonium as African champions Banyana Banyana arrive home

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Banyana Banyana captain Refiloe Jane   with the trophy. Photo: Rosetta Msimango/City Press
Banyana Banyana captain Refiloe Jane with the trophy. Photo: Rosetta Msimango/City Press


Banyana Banyana were greeted by thousands of fans when they touched down at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Tuesday following their historic maiden CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nation (Wafcon) title win.

READ: Banyana Banyana finally crowned African champions 

Following years of heartbreak for the South African senior women’s national team after finishing as runners-up five times, Banyana defeated hosts Morocco 2-1 in the final at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat on Saturday to win their first Wafcon title.

Pandemonium broke out as Banyana coach Desiree Ellis and captains Refiloe Jane and Janine van Wyk led the team out of the international arrival terminals, flanked by cheering airport crew and thousands who came to give the African champions a heroes’ welcome.

Safa president Danny Jordaan, Arts, Sports and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa and Gauteng MEC for Sports Mbali Hlophe were among some of the dignitaries as speaker after speaker took to the podium to say their well-wishes.

Bafana captain Ronwen Williams was also in attendance and had ample time to interact with those who descended to the airport.

This is the first time that South Africa has won an African title since 1996 when Bafana Bafana won the Afcon at home.

Ecstatic fans clad in the country’s colours had arrived as early as the crack of dawn to welcome a team. Photo: Rosetta Msimango/City Press
Banyana Banyana supporters came in their numbers at the OR Tambo international Airport. Photo: Rosetta Msimango
Banyana Banyana players pose for pictures after landing in SA. Photo: Rosetta Msimango/City Press
Fans at OR Tambo International airport welcome Banyana Banyana. Photo: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

The players walked out of the arrival gates to wild celebrations at the airport, with their continental trophy and winners’ medals on show.

Ecstatic fans clad in the country’s colours had arrived as early as the crack of dawn to welcome a team that has proudly flown the South African flag high while playing against some of the best teams on the continent.

The fans created a festive atmosphere as they sang and beat drums in anticipation of the champions’ arrival. It is hoped that Banyana’s achievement will have a positive impact on the growth of the women’s game in the country.

The dignitaries present urged the corporate world to financially back the team. Ahead of the team’s departure to Morocco, Safa promised to reward each Banyana player a minimum of R400 000 should they win the tournament.

Banyana were also named as the women’s national team of the year while Andile Dlamini walked away with the goalkeeper of the tournament award. Ellis was crowned Africa’ best coach.

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