SAFA boss inspired by Zambia
Kirsten Nematandani (Gallo)
Johannesburg - SAFA president Kirsten Nematandani believes South Africa can learn from Zambia's impressive run in the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Copper Bullets, who stunned Ghana 1-0 in the semi-finals in
midweek, will contest AFCON honours with Côte d'Ivoire on Sunday.
And Nematandani feels Bafana Bafana could also scale such heights with better application.
"The commitment Zambia have shown here has been amazing," Nematandani told The Star.
"They've proven that if you are willing to take the challenge and
work together as a team, you can achieve a lot. They don't have
big-name stars, but they are a group of ordinary individuals prepared to
get dirty for their country.
"They should be an inspiration for us because nearly half of
their players play in our league and they are not among the best here.
This should be a sign that if our boys are prepared to sweat it out, we
can achieve big things."
Bafana, continental champions in 1996, have failed to qualify for the last two editions of CAF's flagship event.
Meanwhile, Nematandani says he welcomes FIFA's decision to
investigate claims that friendlies in South Africa were fixed in the
build-up to the 2010 World Cup.
This follows media-fueled doubts on the validity of Bafana's
victories over Colombia (5-0) and Guatemala (2-1) in May 2010, two weeks
before the World Cup. Earlier games against Bulgaria and Thailand are
also under suspicion.
Nematandani said: "FIFA are investigating match-fixing worldwide.
They are not investigating SAFA. And all we have to do is open the door
for FIFA and co-operate with them.
"None of our people were aware of the problem when those matches
under question took place. But the good thing is that when we started
having doubts we acted by changing one of the referees for a match.
"As SAFA, we are against match-fixing and we put our referees
through integrity tests, hence our officials are among the most
respected," he concluded.