Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has called on South Africans to continue to support the national team after Bafana Bafana drew against Cape Verde in Saturday's 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) opening match at the National Stadium in Johannesburg.
"Let's go and support the team," Mbalula said during a press conference in Johannesburg on Sunday. "This is not only about Bafana Bafana, is about the country's ability to deliver the tournament to millions of viewers."
"Yesterday's game was just the beginning, and we will not give up on them," he said.
Bafana next take on Angola at Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium on Wednesday before they play their last group stage match against Morocco at the same venue on Sunday.
The four teams in Group A are level after Angola and Morocco also played out to a goalless draw on Saturday.
The minister said the government was pleased with the spectacle showcased in front of millions of Africans and the broader world community through good broadcast facilities, security services, health and occupational services, hospitality and other offerings from the country.
Mbalula said that 70 220 spectators had attended Saturday's opening ceremony and match despite the wet and chilly weather. The match was viewed by millions of soccer fans across the world.
"We would like to thank the public for the way they behaved and cooperated with the security and officials at the various venues leading to the stadium. We further appeal to the spectators in various host cities to also come on board and emulate the National Stadium razzmatazz," Mbalula said.
In Sunday's Group B matches at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth, tournament favourites Ghana went 2-0 up against the Democratic Republic of Congo before the DRC scored twice to level matters 2-2. Mali then went top of the group with a 1-0 victory over Niger.
South African President Jacob Zuma greets Bafana Bafana players Siyabonga Sangweni and Sphiwe Tshabalala before the opening match of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Johannesburg, 19 January 2013 (Photo: GCIS)
2013 Africa Cup of Nations
South African Football Association
Bafana disappoint in Afcon opening draw
Africa's beat opens Afcon 2013
Brand South Africa hosts Afcon journos
All set for 'safe, enjoyable' Afcon 2013
Zuma wishes Bafana well for Afcon
Afcon 2013: 'Get behind Bafana Bafana'
Afcon 2013: Igesund opts for experience
SAinfo in your mailbox
Our best stories of the week, free to your e-mail box.
SA sport update
Get up to speed with what's happening in SA sport.
About South Africa
Doing business with SA
Travelling to South Africa
Services for South Africans
South Africans abroad
News and events
Join our community
Mobile RSS feeds
Helping the media cover the South African story.
Snap daily forecasts for 20 cities and
South African Government Online Â• South African Tourism Â• South African National Parks Â• Wines of South Africa
South African Broadcasting Corporation Â• South African Airways Â• JSE Â• Business Unity South Africa
Site published for Brand South Africa by Big Media Publishers