Cape Town - South African Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula gave an inspiring speech in the dressing room after Mamelodi Sundowns won the CAF Champions League.
As it happened: Zamalek v Mamelodi Sundowns
The Brazilians were crowned African champions at the Borg El Arab Stadium on the outskirts of Alexandria as they held on to a 3-1 aggregate victory over Zamalek.
Mbalula made the trip up north along with Bafana Bafana coach, Shakes Mashaba, to support the Pretoria side on their quest to lift the coveted prize.
The Sports Minister was welcomed by the club chairperson, Patrice Motsepe, as well as coach Pitso Mosimane in the dressing room after parading the trophy inside the stadium.
"When we go back home, we have made history and I am proud to be part of this history and to be here" said Mbalula in a video recorded, going on to add that the team were a "bunch of winners".
“Mamelodi Sundowns has
proven to us and the continent that South Africa has a competent league system.
This will change perceptions on how South African football is viewed and
respected. Without a doubt, they elevated us a country to another level. I am
proud of their achievement and thank them for understanding very well that the
championships were not just about them but also about our nation. After their
victory, they flew our flag and made it known to the continent who they fought
so hard for. I send my heartfelt gratitude to the players of Sundowns who
by this victory inspired another generation of stars. We salute the coach for
his leadership of the team, like the President of Sundowns said, Mr Pitso
Mosimane has proven himself to be the best coach South Africa has ever seen. I
am honoured and privileged to have witnessed this historic momment,” Mbalula said.
Sundowns became only the second South African team to win the CAF Champions League after Orlando Pirates in 1995.
GALLERY: Sundowns claim CAF CL glory
The Brazilians will now travel to Japan in December to take part in the FIFA World Club Cup.
WATCH: FIKILE MBALULA DRESSING ROOM SPEECH