South Africa: Team Spirit Drives Bafana Bafana

Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix
May Mahlangu of South Africa scores one of the goals which took the host team through to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Many would have seen images of three Bafana Bafana goalkeepers huddled up in a hug after the 2-all draw against Morocco in the last group stage match of the Africa Cup of Nations South Africa 2013 on Sunday, 27 January at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

At the sound of the final whistle, when the rest of the players celebrated on the centre of the field, the three goal minders - Senzo Meyiwa, Itumeleng Khune and Wayne Sandilands - were kneeling in a hug next to the goalposts with the cameras zooming in on them.

The celebration of the whole team was after South Africa had qualified for the quarter-finals of the tournament after a gallant fight back against a tough-as-teak Moroccan side that was intent on spoiling the party.

Khune, who played in all three matches in the tournament, had just been chosen the Orange Man of the Match.

"We all know it's not about us as individuals, it's about the country. We all know we have a role to play and we have to play that role as best as we can. We are professionals on the field, but we are also good friends off it," said Sandilands.

"We respect each other and we also push each other as best as we can because at the end of the day it's about the country. We know that if we are not playing we push the one that is playing to do his best. We give the support to each other because we want the same when selected to play. As players we are hungry to give our best and keep performing well, and God-willing that will take us all the way to the final to do our country proud. This is a once in a life time opportunity for some players so we have to make the most of it."

The in-field players have also been very supportive from the sidelines, encouraging their teammates on the field to do well - something head coach Gordon Igesund has been preaching to his players.

"Yes, there is a great team spirit but also it shows the healthy competition we have. We support each other, we are always there for each other. But what I like most about Senzo and Wayne, even during the game, whether after conceding a goal or making a save, they are always encouraging me to do more and that's what keeps me going during the 90 minutes because I know I have the support of the other goalkeepers," said Khune.

"I don't think there is anything that will stop us if we show that great team spirit. And it's not only the goalkeepers but also the in-field players as well who are behind us all the way, we all have a great team spirit in camp and I believe that's why we have come this far."

Bafana Bafana take on Mali in the quarter-finals of the tournament which will be played at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday, 2 February 2013.

Many would have seen images of three Bafana Bafana goalkeepers huddled up in a hug after the 2-all draw against Morocco in the last group stage match of the Africa Cup of Nations South Africa 2013 on Sunday, 27 January at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

At the sound of the final whistle, when the rest of the players celebrated on the centre of the field, the three goal minders - Senzo Meyiwa, Itumeleng Khune and Wayne Sandilands - were kneeling in a hug next to the goalposts with the cameras zooming in on them.

The celebration of the whole team was after South Africa had qualified for the quarter-finals of the tournament after a gallant fight back against a tough-as-teak Moroccan side that was intent on spoiling the party.

Khune, who played in all three matches in the tournament, had just been chosen the Orange Man of the Match.

"We all know it's not about us as individuals, it's about the country. We all know we have a role to play and we have to play that role as best as we can. We are professionals on the field, but we are also good friends off it," said Sandilands.

"We respect each other and we also push each other as best as we can because at the end of the day it's about the country. We know that if we are not playing we push the one that is playing to do his best. We give the support to each other because we want the same when selected to play. As players we are hungry to give our best and keep performing well, and God-willing that will take us all the way to the final to do our country proud. This is a once in a life time opportunity for some players so we have to make the most of it."

The in-field players have also been very supportive from the sidelines, encouraging their teammates on the field to do well - something head coach Gordon Igesund has been preaching to his players.

"Yes, there is a great team spirit but also it shows the healthy competition we have. We support each other, we are always there for each other. But what I like most about Senzo and Wayne, even during the game, whether after conceding a goal or making a save, they are always encouraging me to do more and that's what keeps me going during the 90 minutes because I know I have the support of the other goalkeepers," said Khune.

"I don't think there is anything that will stop us if we show that great team spirit. And it's not only the goalkeepers but also the in-field players as well who are behind us all the way, we all have a great team spirit in camp and I believe that's why we have come this far."

Bafana Bafana take on Mali in the quarter-finals of the tournament which will be played at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday, 2 February 2013.

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