Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist


OPINION: Proteas must achieve more if they want as much love as the Boks

The national cricket side have managed to at least start changing the narrative by reaching their first World Cup final.


The Proteas have done well, but the reality is that they’re going to need to do even better and find more consistency at the highest level if they want South African sports fans to offer them as much support as the Springboks get when they play in major finals.

Ahead of their trophy battle at last year’s Rugby World Cup, the entire country got behind the Boks, and they delivered once again by winning their fourth title at the quadrennial showpiece in France.

In the build-up to the T20 World Cup final against India at the weekend, the Proteas did not receive as much love, but fans can’t be blamed for that.

The national cricket team have repeatedly entered World Cup tournaments among the title contenders, but they have consistently failed, letting their supporters down.

Changing the narrative

At the recently concluded tournament in the West Indies and the United States, they finally managed to at least start changing the narrative by reaching their first World Cup final.

And any suggestions that they choked in the final should be ignored. They were narrowly beaten by the world’s top-ranked team after putting up a real fight.

But one performance in a final is not going to be enough to make the cricket side darlings of South African sport.

The Boks are phenomenal. They regularly shine under pressure, and at last year’s World Cup they won multiple games by a single point, again showcasing their big match temperament by winning a record fourth global title.

Big step forward

To their credit, the Proteas enjoyed a similar experience at the T20 spectacle, emerging triumphant in most of their matches which went down to the wire.

It was a massive step forward, but a one-off effort isn’t going to be enough. They need to be consistent in future, and they need to lift a trophy at some point if they want to rake in more support back home.

The Boks have set the standard, and it is clear the Proteas are at least trying to raise their own bar.

Now they must take more steps forward, performing consistently and winning titles, or they will never be compared to the Boks because they simply haven’t earned it.

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