SouthAfrica.info (Johannesburg)

South Africa: Igesund's Plea to Bafana's '12th Man'

South Africa's boisterous, colourful supporters are very special to the national team, coach Gordon Igesund said on Monday, urging the public to carry the spirit they showed in Johannesburg over to Durban, where Bafana Bafana face Angola in a must-win game on Wednesday.

Addressing journalists in Johannesburg on Monday, Igesund said the crowd at the National Stadium on Saturday had been "brilliant" in their effort to lift the team in very challenging playing conditions.

"We now need the public to go to Moses Mabhida Stadium in their numbers and give the boys the support and work as the 12th player.

"We will do our best to make our amazing supporters happy," Igesund vowed. "They have been fantastic throughout and they need to be rewarded with performances that warrant their unwavering support."

He said the dream of winning the tournament was still very much alive, and that it was only a matter of time before Bafana turned their chances into goals.

South African Football Association (Safa) president Kirsten Nematandani said Bafana Bafana still had an excellent opportunity to progress further in the tournament. "We urge the public to continue supporting and encouraging our boys to regain their winning mentality."

Bafana will face Angola at the Moses Mabhida stadium at 5pm on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday night, in a thrilling Group C match, Ethiopia held reigning champions Zambia to a 1-1 draw at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.

Collins Mbesuma scored for Zambia, but Adane Girma equalised for Ethiopia, who were down to 10-men after their goalkeeper Jemal Tassew was sent off for a dangerous tackle in the 25th minute.

In the second Group C match, Burkina Faso struck a late equaliser to earn a 1-1 draw against Nigeria, leaving Group C all square.

On Tuesday evening, a star-studded Ivory Coast will face a Togolese team led by Tottenham Hotspur striker Emmanuel Adebayor at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rusternburg, followed by a clash between North African giants Algeria and Tunisia at the same venue.

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