Bafana AFCON star Teboho Mokoena calls EFF’s Julius Malema ‘my favourite president’

South Africa's midfielder Teboho Mokoena (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2024 round of 16 football match between Morocco and South Africa at the Stade Laurent Pokou in San Pedro

Bafana Bafana player Teboho Mokoena (pictured centre) revealed an unexpected admiration for EFF leader Julius Malema upon the team’s arrival back in South Africa on Wednesday. Picture: Sia Kambou/AFP

Published Feb 14, 2024


Bafana Bafana player Teboho Mokoena revealed an unexpected admiration for Economic Freedom Fighters’ Leader Julius Malema, as the team were welcomed back to South Africa at OR Tambo International in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The normally reserved Mokoena was called to speak on stage in front of a huge crowd that had gathered to welcome back Bafana after they defied low expectations to finish third at the Africa Cup of Nations. Bafana prevailed in the third-place play-off match against the Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday, in another dramatic penalty shootout at the African showpiece event.

Even the 4am touchdown did not deter hordes of Bafana fans, and a number of South African Football Association (Safa) and government officials were also in attendance.

SA minister of sport and recreation, Zizi Kodwa, was seated just to Mokoena’s right as the player took a pointed swipe at President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Favourite president

“President, Mr Julius. He’s my favourite president in the country,” said the 27-year-old Mokoena.

Instead of taking exception to Mokoena’s comments, Kodwa could be seen laughing and clapping.

When it was Kodwa’s turn to speak, however, it was noticeable that he did not acknowledge the presence of Malema who was also seated in the front row on stage.

Earlier, Bafana skipper Ronwen Williams and coach Hugo Broos led the team out to rapturous applause and vuvuzela’s ringing out in the international arrival hall at the airport.

Among the crowd, EFF supporters seemed to make up the majority of the gathering in a festive atmosphere not witnessed for a national soccer team this century, with the exception of the enthusiasm for Bafana during the 2010 Fifa World Cup as hosts.