Criticism accepted, hatred overboard: Proteas fans defend Bavuma amid flak after World Cup exit

17 November 2023 - 15:26
South Africa's Temba Bavuma after the match.
Image: ANDREW BOYERS/Reuters South Africa's Temba Bavuma after the match.

Proteas captain Temba Bavuma has received backlash after South Africa were eliminated from the 2023 World Cup by Australia in the semifinal on Thursday.     

The captain has been topping the charts on social media with some people pinning the Proteas' loss mainly on him but some criticism has been flagged by users as having racial undertones.

Indian social commentator Dhruv Tripathi attacked Bavuma in a series of posts on social media calling the captain a “reservation boy”, saying he made it to the team mainly because he was African.

“Reserved black player Temba Bavuma went for a duck in the semifinal. Bavuma is captain because of reservation,” Tripathi wrote.

Though heartbroken by another failure to make it to the final of a major tournament, some South African sport lovers defended the Proteas captain amid the harsh backlash. 

“We win as a team. We lose as a team. Leave Temba Bavuma alone. He is a great leader and quality player who didn't enjoy good form at the World Cup. It happens to the best of the best in the game,” sports commentator Bangani Chuma said.

Comedian Rory Petzer published a video on social media appealing to fans not to be harsh when criticising players.   

“As fans we can feel all the feelings, be sad, excited and pissed off and we are allowed to do that. But in my opinion we should not be directing hate towards players. They are human beings. It is horrible,” Petzer said.

“I am apologising to Bavuma as well for a tweet posted after the game. They are human beings, I do not believe they do not go out there to give their best every game. They give their best.”

While some fans might have been unhappy with Bavuma as the Proteas lost by three wickets, coach Rob Walter was proud of him

“He was the lead man who got us into this tournament in the first place. People forget that. I wanted to make sure he was aware of how important he is in this team and how proud I am of his efforts and the way he led throughout the tournament,” said Walter.

The debate continues on social media: