When the Minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula, recently condemned the national team for their performance in the Caf Tournament, there was a huge out-cry from the public.
There was shock that someone could say these kinds of things about Bafana. The way he had behaved was disgraceful!
While this was all unfolding it was fascinating to watch the reactions of the country – a country whose fans known for their fickle support of sports teams. From club teams to national level, one thing is clear in South Africa: when a team is winning, they are loved; when they lose, fans unite to attack them.
You hear the talk continually - on the street, at workplaces, in pubs and in the media. When our teams do well, we are the most patriotic, loyal fans in the world – proudly waving our multi-coloured flag and chanting in languages we often do not understand – but if a team should dare to fail, the talk quickly becomes quite different.
It, almost instantly, changes into conversations that don’t differ much from the words of anger spewed out by the minister. We have, time and again, proven ourselves to be fair-weather supporters.
So the question remains, what do our players need from their supporters in order to deliver their best performance?
What is it that we, as fans, can do to support our team and give them the best chance of delivering the goods?
It seems that a space for our players to perform, grown and develop, without the constant fear of the fan’s recrimination, is a good place to start.
Maybe the question that should be asked is: what kind of supporter do YOU want to be?