15 January 2013

South Africa: Zuma Wishes Bafana Well Ahead of Afcon

Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix
Anele Ngcongca of South Africa, left, tangles with Heldon of Cape Verde during opening match of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals.

Soweto — President Jacob Zuma today wished Bafana Bafana well ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament that is being hosted by South Africa.

The Afcon tournament kicks off on 19 January and ends on 10 February.

President Zuma visited the team at their Soweto training camp at the Orlando Stadium.

Wishing the team well, Zuma said he is confident that the team will make the country proud. "I have seen the team, they are well prepared and they will showcase what they are made of. We are satisfied that the team is ready. I want to touch the cup," he said.

Zuma also advised the team not to listen to critics but to focus on what they do best. "Some of the critics have never touched a soccer ball and they cannot even play soccer, theirs is to criticise," Zuma said, adding that the country is behind them.

President Zuma also had an opportunity to pose for pictures with the Bafana Bafana players who were in high spirits ahead of the tournament.

The team also assured South Africans that they are going to win the tournament.

Last week, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) assured the continent that South Africa is ready to host the tournament.

South Africa took over the hosting of the tournament from Libya, which withdrew following the political turmoil during the Arab Spring.

The tournament will be played in five cities and towns - Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Nelspruit and Rustenburg. All of them have upgraded or newly-built stadia.

During his visit at the training camp, Zuma was accompanied by Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula, the South African Football Association (Safa) President Kirsten Nematandani and other Safa senior officials.

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