The Protea’s were given a spirited send off recently, at The Melrose Arch Piazza. More than 1500 cheering South Africans gathered to bid the team farewell before they jetted off for the ICC Cricket World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.
Dressed in green and gold, blowing vuvuzelas; cricket enthusiasts came in droves to see off their heroes. The build up featured a brass band that kept the audiences well entertained, under the sweltering 30degree sun. Seven-man strong, Bambanani also played for the Proteas during the T20 and ODI tournaments against the West Indies recently.
The send-off was peppered with video clips of the players telling South Africans how important their support has been. #ProteaFire, a campaign driven by Lead SA was devised in 2014 as a run up to the World Cup, and helped organise the large crowd for the send-off. Offices around the Piazza who were hard at work, took time out to wave South African flags and the Soweto Gospel Choir had everybody dancing with rousing performances, including a rendition of the 2010 FiFA World Cup anthem, Waka Waka.
National Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula added his voice of support, telling the Proteas that winning is a statement of courage. “Give it your best shot. Go out there and defend the South African flag and represent our country with dignity,” said the Minister.
The ICC World Cup starts on the February 14 and the Proteas’ first match will be against Zimbabwe.