SAFA boss inspired by Zambia

2012-02-10 11:28
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.

Read more on:    kirsten nematandani

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