SAnews.gov.za (Tshwane)

3 February 2013

South Africa/Mali: Minister Lauds Bafana's Fighting Spirit

Pretoria — The Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, has lauded Bafana Bafana for displaying a well-spirited and bitter fight during the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

The national team failed to beat Mali during a tough quarter-final match at the Moses Mabhida stadium on Saturday night. Mali now proceeds to the semi-finals.

The minister said the team had displayed excellent performance on and off the field, which inspired many across the length and breadth of our beloved country.

"Our team fought hard and dominated, but as a nation we understood that there could only be one winner. For us, South Africa has already won by being the best of this successful tournament.

"As the Government of South Africa, we remain resolute that this is the best Afcon tournament ever hosted in our country," said Mbalula.

He wished Mali and the other remaining teams well in their endeavour to lift the Afcon 2013 trophy on the 10th of February.

"We look forward to Bafana Bafana representing us proudly in Brazil both at the 2014 Confederations and the FIFA World Cup. We thank South Africans who continued to rally behind Bafana Bafana and plead for their continued support towards the remaining teams in the tournament," he said.

He thanked President Jacob Zuma for the support and confidence he had shown in Bafana Bafana during the tournament.

He encouraged soccer fans to continue to support the Football Friday campaign by wearing their football jerseys on Fridays to show support towards the 2013 AFCON tournament.

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