Bafana Bafana

Bafana in high spirits

2014-11-14 13:00
Andile Jali (Gallo Images)

Durban - Overseas-based Andile Jali and Dean Furman were the standout favourites among Durban supporters mingling with Bafana Bafana at Gateway shopping centre in Umhlanga, north of Durban, on Friday morning.

Selfies with iPads and cellphones were the order of the day as hundreds of supporters came out to meet their heroes, ahead of South Africa's crucial 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sudan on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 15:00 at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Jali, who plays for KV Oostende in Belgium after plying his trade with Orlando Pirates, was swamped by fans, many of whom donned Pirates memorabilia.

"He is one of us and he will always be a Buccaneer," Hosea Mngomani, a Pirates supporter said.

"Andile plays overseas now but all the people here know him from Pirates, he is our man."

Furman, meanwhile, who has been linked with the Bafana captaincy since his arrival from England on Monday, was also the centre of adoration from the Durban crowd.

Based in Doncaster, near Manchester, Furman is in line to wear the captain's armband on Saturday, replacing Senzo Meyiwa, who was shot dead in an alleged robbery on October 26.

The talented midfielder was all smiles as he posed for photos with fans and admirers.

"Dean is the best!" Suzi Tshabalala, a proud AmaZulu supporter, said of the 26 year-old.

"He is so good for Bafana Bafana and he always makes me happy when he plays well."

One female supporter took a different view of the midfielder.

"Dean Furman is the hottest member of the team, no doubt. He looks so cute with his big smile," Sally Hunter, a middle-aged woman from Ballito said.

Bafana took a stroll through the shopping centre engaging with supporters, a policy coach Shakes Mashaba introduced when taking over the job from Gordon Igesund in August.

Bafana walked through Canal Walk shopping centre in Cape Town, before doing the same at Savanna Mall in Polokwane, ahead of their respective Afcon qualifiers in the two previous months.

The Sudan fixture, which was moved from Nelspruit to Durban in Meyiwa's honour, could see Bafana wrap up qualification before they play their final group game in Nigeria next Wednesday.

With eight points from their opening four qualifiers, a win could seal their place at next year's tournament, which currently has no host.

A draw would force Mashaba's troops to need a positive result in Nigeria, a daunting prospect.

Read more on:    bafana bafana  |  dean furman  |  andile jali  |  soccer

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