Kaizer Chiefs were greeted by a multitude of supporters at the Johannesburg International airport on Wednesday when they touched down from Tunisia where they had conquered Club Africain to reach the final of the African Cup Winners Cup, also known as the Nelson Mandela Cup.
The players arrived shortly before mid-day from Tunis via Paris. But even though some of the supporters had arrived at the airport as early as 07h00, they did not care, as their aim was to give each player a hero’s welcome.
It turned out to be a truly emotional welcome for some of the players who created history by becoming the first local team to reach the final of this competition, named after the world icon Mandela.
Spokesman Putco Mafani disclosed at the airport that club managing
director Kaizer Motaung has extended an invitation to former president
Mandela to attend the second leg final against Angolan side Inter Luanda in December.
Led by their number one supporter Sadaam Maake in song and dance, the
Amakhosi 4 life were joined by several Sundowns supporters attired in their traditional canary yellow colours waving placards which read: “Sundowns congratulates Kaizer Chiefs for their achievement!”
It was indeed a touching moment to see supporters of both teams singing their hearts out in the rendition of a wedding folk song: “Nelson Mandela! Nelson Mandela! Ha hona ya tshoanang le yena,” they chorused. (Nelson Mandela! Nelson Mandela! There is no other like him!)
PRO Mafani had a difficult time restraining the excited supporters from touching the players but eventually they formed a guard of honour and clapped their hands as Kaizer Motaung’s heroes filed past on their way out of the terminal.
It was too much for coach Muhsin Ertugral whose belief in a group of
youngsters seems to be paying off and his eyes appeared to mist at the warm welcome accorded him and his conquering warriors.