Lively welcome shows SA fans love winners

South Africa is a country that boasts sport die-hards who want to be associated with the winners.

South Africa is a country that boasts sport die-hards who want to be associated with the winners.

This was evident when South Africans cramped OR Tambo International Airport on Saturday morning to welcome their heroes and heroines from Beijing where they shone at the Paralympic Games.

The atmosphere at the airport was electrifying. You could see that people have been deprived of an opportunity to celebrate with their athletes for sometime, thanks to disappointing performances by some of our athletes, including Bafana Bafana.

They were not at the airport when the Olympic team returned from Beijing last month.

One of the jubilant supporters at the airport said he would be back to celebrate with the Paralympians after the 2012 Games to be held in London.

He does not think there will be other national teams that will bring him to the airport any time soon to celebrate.

He is a soccer fan and decided to be at the airport to console himself after Bafana let the country down by failing to qualify for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations.

The conspicuously worried fan made no bones about the fact that he regretted the moment Safa appointed the little-known Joel Santana to guide the national team.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who jokingly harbours hopes of mentoring Bafana, has also expressed his disenchantment with their downward spiral.

Though I want all South Africans to come in throngs to rally behind Bafana whenever they play, I sometimes agree with those who intend boycotting the matches to highlight their grievances.

This is an unpopular decision and a bad one for the 2010 World Cup, but what else should the fans do because Safa seems not to take them seriously? The general feeling among the fans is that Santana was not supposed to have been hired in the first place.

I agree because we have our own Jomo Sonos and Clive Barkers to guide the team. These guys have a deep-rooted culture of our game and they have also proved themselves at the highest level.

Our once beloved and revered Bafana and the rest of the country can do without Santana.

If we can survive without a president today, what will stop us from surviving without Joel Santana.