Bafana Bafana

Mbalula: Just beat Nigeria

2014-11-19 16:00
Fikile Mbalula (Gallo Images)
Pretoria - Minister of sport and recreation Fikile Mbalula believes that Bafana Bafana are capable of causing an upset when they face Nigeria in their final Group A clash of the 2015 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier on Wednesday night.

LIVE: Nigeria v Bafana Bafana

Bafana will renew their rivalry with the Super Eagles at the newly built Uyo international stadium as they seek to record their first ever victory over the Nigerians in a competitive match.

The former African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) leader told Sport24, in an exclusive interview on Wednesday, that it will be a good feeling for the South African football fraternity if Bafana can cause an upset in Nigeria.

Mbalula, 43, also hinted that he will declare Thursday as a public holiday if Shakes Mashaba’s men bring this long running hoodoo to an end.

"It’s a game of soccer, nothing is impossible," Mbalula told Sport24.

"And we know that anything can happen, but I believe in the boys who are with the current team in Nigeria.

"They are so motivated and hungry for success.

"We also have the experienced players like Andile Jali, Oupa Manyisa and the bunch of Kaizer Chiefs players who will be competing in Africa next year.

"It will be a good feeling for us as a country to beat this Nigerians.

"I wish they can just beat Nigeria at their own backyard and then I will declare tomorrow (Thursday) as a public holiday because this hoodoo has been going on for a long time now.

"But we are going there without any pressure because we have already qualified for AFCON next year.

"So there is no pressure on our team and if it happens we lose we must understand that it happens in football.

"But we’ll remain proud of our team," he added.

Heading to this encounter, Nigeria needs nothing less than a win to book their place in next years’ continental showpiece and they will be counting on Sudan to cause an upset at home against Congo, Brazzaville.

Kick-off for both games is at 19:00 (SA Time)


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Bafana Bafana have been drawn with Cameroon, Gambia and Mauritania in the qualification stages for the 2017 AFCON tournament. Where will Shakes Mashaba's men finish in their pool?

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