Banyana Banyana returned home today (Tuesday, 13 November 2012) to a rapturous welcome from hordes of supporters who brought the OR Tambo Airport International Arrivals to a standstill.
Banyana reached the final of the African Women Championships in Equatorial Guinea where they lost 4-0 to the hosts to finish a remarkable runners-up.
Business had to come to a standstill, as onlookers joined the ‘welcoming party’.
Looking fatigued after a long flight which saw them ‘stranded’ at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport en route home for hours, Banyana landed at around 13h30 and had problems negotiating their way through as multitude of supporters scrambled for their attention.
Coach Joseph Mkhonza said while the team had achieved its goal of reaching the final and beating their nemesis Nigeria, they would have loved to go all the way and win the title.
“We have laid a solid foundation and I hope, next time we should go all the way. This team is gelling and I am confident we are heading towards a ‘golden era’ for women football in the country,” said Mkhonza who was last week named South African Coach of the Year.
Captain Amanda Dlamini said the semi-final win against Nigeria might have taken the fighting out of the team but ‘getting so near, yet so far’ was not a disgrace.
South African Football Association (SAFA) President, Kirsten Nematandani said the girls had done the country proud.
“They gave it all; as a country, we are happy and proud of these heroines,” he said.