23 January 2013

South Africa/Angola: Minister Mbalula Peps Up Bafana Ahead of Angola Clash

Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
South Africa's Siyabonga Sangweni celebrates the host team's first goal - scored against Angola - at the Africa Cup of Nations finals.

Minister of Sport and Recreation South Africa the Honourable Fikile Mbalula visited Bafana Bafana at their team hotel in Durban ahead of their crucial clash with Angola in the Africa Cup of Nations South Africa 2013.

The match will take place on Wednesday, 23 January at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Kick-off is at 17h00.

This is Bafana Bafana's second match of the competition after they played to a goalless draw in the opening clash against Cape Verde Islands on Saturday, 19 January at the National Stadium in Johannesburg.

Minister Mbalula, accompanied by Kirsten Nematandani, President of the South African Football Association (SAFA), handed each and every player their playing jerseys.

"You came here to defend the interest of the country. Be ready to fight and defend your nation until the end. Giants emerge out of challenges and difficulties, and even champions emerge out of the same. What separates men from boys is their experience and determination.

"Do what you are supposed to do to the best of your abilities, and what will define the end result of your fight is the score. Everyone supports this team and we believe in you, and you have to believe in yourselves," said the Minister.

He added that Bafana Bafana should find courage because of the support of millions of South Africans.

"Do not surrender because some people perform much better under pressure and they end up doing miracles. Do not be afraid to take responsibilities. Take your chances, squander them if possible but at the end of the day you will leave the field knowing that you tried. You are being challenged and I think you have to take the bull by its horns. There is no retreat, you guys have the guts and your God-given talent, do your best and enjoy the game. Win or lose we are with you," added the Minister Mbalula.

In addition, Nematandani asked the players to have belief.

"Many things have been said but I want to add that with belief, everything is possible. Go out there and make yourselves and your country proud. As the Minister said, do the best you can," said Nematandani.

Bafana Bafana head coach Gordon Igesund thanked the Minister for making time to come and speak to the players. Earlier in the day Igesund addressed a media briefing at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

"The best for us is to forget about the previous game, it is behind us now. We wanted three points but we managed to get only one. Everything is in our hands and there is no room for us to panic. I am looking for a much-improved performance and a lot of patience from my players. But what I can tell you is that the game is going to be totally different," said Igesund.

"There will be a few changes, really positive changes to inject some life into the team because we want to win this match. It goes without saying that this is a must-win especially because we dropped two points in our last game. I have been saying that five points will be enough to get us to the next round, but we don't want to leave it to the last match so we need to get the three points now against Angola. Every team knows that the second match is a must-win, we don't want to rely on other teams. Everything is in our hands."

Speaking on behalf of the players, captain Bongani Khumalo said the Angola game was a must win.

"We don't need any motivation for this match, all we need is winning because when you win games everything falls into place, and in the process you bring joy to the nation. As professionals we know what we need to do and we have one aim in our minds; that is to win." said Khumalo.

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