24 January 2023 – South Africa’s number one soccer fan, Mama Joy Chauke said she had the time of her life in Qatar and rates the 2022 global showpiece as the best FIFA World Cup ever.
‘’People around the globe had misgivings about Qatar hosting this biggest sporting showpiece but when one looks back, we have to admit Qatar ticked all the boxes. The football was top notch, the facilities were excellent, the atmosphere was electric and above all, the general organisation was out of this world,’’ said a beaming Chauke, popularly known in football circles as Mama Joy.
She was among a host of football fans picked from across the globe to witness the showpiece in Qatar and the Soweto-based Chauke said the month she spent in the Middle East was the best time of her life.
To cap it all, Mama Joy was voted the Best Fan Leader by the Qatar World Cup organising committee and although the award didn’t come with monetary benefits, she got a few gifts that she brought home to her family.
‘’I was the ambassador of the country. Although Bafana Bafana didn’t qualify for the World Cup, I think I represented my country well. I was almost like a superstar and everyone wanted to take pictures with me. Most people recognised me in the streets and public places, and many wanted my South African scarf, emblazoned with the country’s colours.’’
She said by interacting with other countries’ fans, she had learned a lot on how football can be used to bring people from all walks of life together.
She called upon South African corporates to pour money into fan groups and added that she would go knocking on the doors of companies to take the fan interaction to the next level. Already reaping the benefits of her colourful and robust behaviour during matches, Mama Joy has become the face of Royal AM Football Club after quitting her long-time club Orlando Pirates.
‘’I would like to set up structures together with my President (of SANASU) Saddam Maake to make fan groups more organised. With a good budget, we can take fans structures to the next level,’’ she concluded.