Bafana Bafana

Mbalula proud of Bafana

2015-01-07 18:30
Fikile Mbalula (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - South Africa's sports minister on Wednesday said the country's national team had matured after qualifying to compete in the continent's most prestigious football tournament following seven years in the wilderness.

Bafana Bafana last qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2008.

"You have come of age," said Minister Fikile Mbalula shortly before the team left for the tournament, which will be hosted by Equatorial Guinea. "This is a special moment for South Africa."

"You have restored the glory, the pride... of the nation," he added.

A year ago, out of frustration at the team's poor performances, Mbalula described Bafana Bafana as a "disaster" and a "useless bunch of losers".

That was after South Africa crashed out of the group stage of the 2014 African Nations Championship with a 3-1 loss to Nigeria.

However, 11 months later, South Africa beat defending continental champions Nigeria away to qualify for this year's Cup of Nations.

That victory came despite the harrowing loss of captain and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, who was shot dead at a house south of Johannesburg on October 26 in what police billed as a robbery gone wrong.

"You dismissed the idea that Nigeria cannot be defeated, you have debunked that," said South African Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan.

South Africa are in a tough-looking Group C at the tournament along with Algeria - the top African side in the FIFA rankings - Senegal and Ghana's Black Stars.

On Saturday, they will step up their preparations with a friendly against Cameroon in the Gabonese capital Libreville, nine days before their opening game.

Coach Ephraim "Shakes" Mashaba has refused to name a team captain following the death of Meyiwa, saying the players would "captain each other".

Read more on:    bafana bafana  |  afcon 2015  |  fikile mbalula  |  soccer


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


Do you think SAFA made the right choice in appointing Stuart Baxter as head coach of Bafana Bafana?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.